Shop here for benefits here

Published 10:32 pm Friday, November 20, 2009

It doesn’t take long to truly appreciate the great progress Suffolk has made in recent years in the areas of retail and residential development.

Development corridors in North Suffolk have sprouted over the past decade, giving way to tremendous growth in the number of national and regional retail stores that now call Suffolk home.

With less than a week before the “busiest shopping day of the year” next Friday, it should go without saying that we should all shop locally this year.

But don’t just focus on the large retailers. As they have come in, so too have smaller, family-owned businesses offering tremendous selection, competitive pricing and both the attention to detail and customer service every shopper longs for.

From the retailers along Main Street to College Drive and from Holland to Chuckatuck, Suffolk has just about everything the well-planned holiday shopper is looking for. From the handmade craft to the “must get” Christmas item of the year, Suffolk will have it without a doubt.

But, the selection and convenience of shopping at home is not just an end to itself. Supporting community businesses — our neighbors — keeps taxes local, helps build infrastructure and city services and brings residual benefits.

In a column that appeared in Thursday’s News-Herald, the Retail Alliance reported that “for every $100 spent at an independent business, $45 is returned directly to the area economy — more than three times the return gained from dollars spent at a national chain.”

It is the local economy that supports local schools, hires local people and offers benefits to local families.

The holiday shopping season is an important time to just about every retailer throughout the city. For many, the next few weeks make up a bulk of their annual sales and thus, equate to a make-or-break time of the year.

But the holiday shopping season is also important for our city. It is important to our quality of life and the quality of services we enjoy each and every day.

So, when making out your Christmas gift list this year, just remember that each and every dollar you spend locally is a gift that will continue to give for a long time to come.