The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

November 20, 2013

Fa-la-la-la — local: Why shopping within borders boosts local economies

BECKLEY — Tempted to conquer family wish lists with a few clicks and keystrokes? Shopping online may relieve the impulse to do it all, now, but for conscientious gift buyers, ‘tis the season to keep it local. Retaining a slice of the holiday pie for nearby retailers can reap exponential benefits for local economies.

While the National Retail Federation reports 129 million consumers shopped online on Cyber Monday 2012, according to Kathy Housh, Crossroads Mall manager, this may not be the most optimistic trend for townships.

“If things are available locally, that should be (a resident’s) first priority,” she states.

Considering the number of locally owned businesses and franchises, and corporate store employees who also live and spend in their town, it becomes clear why Housh is passionate about splurging in close proximity.

“I understand going online when you’re looking for something you can’t find here, but it is important to support businesses locally. Plus, you can’t see it, smell it, try it on. How many times have we been disappointed when we bought something online?”

Flashy e-mail ads can’t guarantee the best bargain. If there’s a physical store within reasonable driving distance, buyers can save by taking advantage of individual store specials and sales, ones not available to virtual carts.

Shopping at the local level also eliminates inflated shipping charges and the possibility of unhappy returns. The real devil is in the residuals.

“Buying online means it’s not going to the economy here at all. It’s going to the economy where the corporation is located,” Housh reminds.

This Christmas, commit to exploring local options and to spending in at least one small business where you haven’t before. Leaving a few stockings open for local retailers to fill will ensure a happier, healthier community this New Year and for many to come.

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