Editorial | Shopping This Weekend? Think Local

November 23, 2012 

So you’ve got your Black Friday all mapped out, from the early morning wait at Best Buy to the mid-morning scramble through Wal-Mart to the afternoon marathon at the mall. Before you wrap up the weekend, however, save some time -- and money -- for Saturday.

Once again, smaller retailers across the nation will be marking Small Business Saturday, a chance for shoppers to support the local, smaller entities that drive our economy. It’s a worthy cause, as many of these less gargantuan organizations can struggle to compete this time of year with the marketing budgets of nationwide big box stores and chains.

This year, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is joining the fun, and could even make the shopping worth your while. As an inducement to shop locally, the chamber is offering the chance to win five $250 gift cards. All shoppers have to do to enter is take a receipt to one of the chamber’s three welcome centers that proves they spent at least $150 at local businesses.

“The program is designed to encourage Myrtle Beach area residents to shop locally, keeping money spent within our community,” said Diana Greene, the chamber’s executive vice president of membership. “Small Business Saturday provides the perfect reminder of the importance of supporting hometown businesses, and our hope is that the special offers, discounts and gift card drawings, as part of this holiday campaign, will give our local community even more reason to do so.”

We’re blessed to have many local businesses to choose from as we do our shopping this year. These are the organizations that are tied to our community, with deep roots that go back, in some cases, generations. They sponsor the local Little League and Dixie League teams, help out at charity golf tournaments and provide a living to hundreds of residents. And it’s better for all of us. Numerous studies have shown that local businesses return much more of their revenue to the local economy than do chain stores. For people who like to give unique Christmas gifts, many of these smaller, local stores offer products that just can’t be found in national chain stores.

Wal-Mart will survive just fine if you decide not to buy that new TV from them. That same money will often mean much more to local businesses that have struggled through the recent recession. So while you’re out braving the traffic today and reveling in the good deals at national chains, please consider setting aside at least some of your budget for local stores and restaurants. It’s good for them. It’s good for us.

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