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You should shop small all the time

By Staff | Dec 6, 2015

I have to admit that it is a pretty cool idea.

Shop Small Saturday.

It was held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, after all that Black Friday nonsense.

The idea is to spend a day going to small stores. You know, those mom and pop stores usually located in small towns. The organizers admit that shoppers are going to head to the malls, to the big box stores, and go online to do the vast majority of their holiday shopping.

But, they are trying to get people to also shop small stores not just the big boxes.

Good idea.

But I think it needs to go further.

Why not shop small all the time? Why not shop in your small town stores everyday, not just one day?

I know, I know. I have preached this before in this space. But, it bears repeating.

When you spend money in a store or business, you are not only supporting that business, you are also supporting the community where that business is located.

That is because each dollar you spend in a local store will “turn over” seven times in that community.

What the heck does that mean, you ask?

Well, if you spend your dollars at the local grocery store, for instance, that store owner can then use the money to pay his employee. The employee uses it to pay the rent; his landlord uses it to do some maintenance and shops at the local hardware store; the hardware store owner pays for an advertisement in the local newspaper; and then the local newspaper gives their editor a paycheck.

Then I head back to Juba’s and start the cycle all over again.

However, when dollars get spent in Mankato at the mall, or online at BigBoxStore.com, or anywhere else, they are gone from our communities. And they will be used by those far off business owners to support their communities, not ours.

You get the idea.

The biggest excuse for out-of-town shopping is to try saving money.

I can’t deny that some things cost more in little town stores. But, not as much as you might think.

Our local stores all have sales, too. And if you actually go and check, you might be surprised that local stores are not really out of line in their prices either just a little bit more, or even, believe it or not, about the same price or lower.

But, our local businesses offer so much more than just a good price.

A friendly, smiling face. A greeting at the door, often calling you by your name. A question of, “Can I help you find something?”

And, backing up the sale with their personal satisfaction guarantee.

Put that up against heading to a crowded mall on a Saturday before Christmas and battling to find a parking space or getting a clerk’s attention. There is no comparison in my mind.

I get the willies just thinking about it.

And, when you are thinking of shopping locally, include all of Faribault County in that idea. That is because shopping in any one of the county’s small towns helps support the whole county, too, not just that town.

After all, the county as a whole is actually our ‘community,’ if you think about it.

I hope you consider trying to do as much of your Christmas shopping locally as you can. Get creative. There are plenty of gift ideas in our local stores if you just look around.

But, beyond that, I also hope you do your day-to-day shopping locally, too. Perhaps you already do, and that is great.

Or do you only shop locally when you don’t have enough time to make the trip to a larger city to get your shopping done? Or when the roads are too snow-covered to make the trip?

This coming year, how about making a resolution to shop small all the time. Or at least more than you do now.

That way, you will be supporting the businesses in your town that are some of the prime supporters of your community as a whole.

And, if you and I don’t support them, they will go away. And that would be a real shame.

Let me add one more piece of shameless self-promotion as long as we are talking about Christmas shopping and gift ideas.

A subscription to your favorite small town newspaper (and I hope that is the Faribault County Register), makes for a great Christmas gift idea.

It is the gift that keeps on giving for a full year.

Thanks for reading us.