We’ve used this space before to urge our readers to shop at locally owned businesses during the holidays. Yet, like many important messages, this one bears repeating.
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, we’d encourage everyone to think about how their spending decisions impact their communities.
Our local shop owners depend on us and our dollars to survive in an increasingly cutthroat retail environment. But we also depend on them to maintain vitality on our main streets. Locally owned businesses are the backbone of our communities. They provide diverse employment, comprise much of our tax base, and contribute through their dues in local chambers of commerce or other organizations. When a school group needs funds for a trip or special event, our main street businesses are usually among their first stops for financial support.
That said, we should not view our support for locally owned businesses as a mere obligation, but as an opportunity. We have many creative local retailers who offer the kind of unique gifts and products that simply aren’t available at major retail outlets. Rather than joining the crowd in purchasing yet another mass-produced bauble at a big box store, show them you took the time to purchase something far more unique and special at a local shop.
In many cases, those products are manufactured right here in our area, which provides an additional benefit to the area economy, by keeping even more of our dollars right here at home.
We feature one such business in this week’s paper. Gilley’s Naturals, in Cook, which had closed following a devastating fire a few years ago, recently re-opened in a new downtown Cook location. Owner Jill Gilley, who had feared that all her recipes for her natural lotions, cleansers, repellents, and other products had been lost in the fire, recently discovered a back-up copy and she’s back in business. It’s a good news story and hers is just one example of many local entrepreneurs who have found a market niche thanks to a little hard work and creativity.
We have many other locally owned businesses included in our annual “Shop Locally” promotion that appears this week on Page 12. We encourage everyone to take a look at the sales, gift ideas, and more included in this promotion, which runs this week and next.
We know many of you will be heading to a big box store over the next couple weeks to complete your holiday shopping. But remember to save some, if not most, of your budget for the locally owned shops and stores right here in your own backyard. Your dollars matter more than you think.