Editorial – Buy gifts in Suffolk this season

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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The arrival of another holiday season reminds us again of the importance of shopping at home.

Despite the many reasons we hear from consumers for shopping online and in bigger cities to the east, we remain an unapologetic advocate of our Suffolk retailers, especially those independently owned businesses that are the backbone of the local economy.

There are many good reasons to shop at home – both during the holidays and year-round.

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Hometown merchants take a personal interest in their shoppers, because they know most of

them. They see them at church, at sporting events, at social functions and all around town. They treat their customers like friends, not just another body with a fat wallet.

Supporting local merchants is good for our community. Their taxes help pay for police and fire protection, street improvements and the like. When you buy locally, you also provide jobs for your friends and neighbors.

Plus, local merchants give back to the community. They are generous in their support of school

and charitable fundraisers, civic clubs, youth sports, the arts and just about any other good project. We ought to pay them back with our shopping loyalty.

Being an independent retailer is not an easy row to hoe these days. Besides the big-city malls, which themselves are struggling, there is increasing competition from stay-at-home shopping, especially through e-commerce behemoth Amazon. We get the convenience, but the internet experience is impersonal and, frankly, just not as much fun as walking into a Suffolk shop.

Especially this time of year, it is quite the social experience. If you don’t already know the shop owner, you probably will before you leave. And you’re likely to bump into a friend or neighbor while you’re out and about.

Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 presents another opportunity to get out and shop local. Strategically timed the day after the madness of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is a less stressful way to check off the gifts on this year’s list.

If our hometown merchants were to dry up tomorrow, it would immeasurably lower the quality of life in this community. Let’s all do our part to help them prosper.