To make your downtown better, shop there


This weekend, millions of bargain-hungry shoppers across the country, their Thanksgiving dinners having barely settled, will flood malls and big-box outlets, with the goal of scooping up the best possible deals. Next Monday, millions more will be ensconced in front of their computers, taking advantage of Cyber Monday deals.

But what about our small businesses? What about the storeowners and restaurants that provide the same — no, better — services in your very own community, just blocks from your home? Small businesses are the lifeline of a town’s economy, and this Saturday, Small Business Saturday, is one day on which you can make a difference, helping those businesses, and your downtown, thrive.

There are some very good reasons why your local businesses need you. It has only gotten tougher for them to survive in an age that has seen the proliferation of online shopping and the growing domination of big retail stores. As the costs of doing business march ever upward — from transportation and shipping to employees’ wages and health insurance to property taxes — it has become that much more difficult for local businesses to keep their shelves stocked with the variety shoppers demand and also turn a profit.

The money you pump into your downtown stimulates its financial circulation, not only increasing business owners’ revenue, but helping them purchase more inventory to maintain that variety, and enabling them to hire the staff to help those who come to shop. It’s a simple equation: The more business local consumers generate, the more need for new hires from the community to help handle it, and the better the local employment picture.

What that means, in the long run, is less need for your tax dollars. The money you spend downtown generates the sales taxes that are necessary for our towns, villages, county and state to fund the services residents depend on, and big projects as well. And the more property taxes a healthy and expanded business base pays, the smaller homeowners’ burden will be.

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