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This shopping season, shop locally and shop kindly

We all know once Thanksgiving comes and goes, people (at least those who haven’t been playing “Jingle Bell Rock” since Labor Day) turn their attention in earnest to the holiday season, and with it the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday is the day that most think of as the time to get up super early and go to crowded stores to try and score the biggest bargains of the year. We often, including here in our newspaper, see the big chain stores advertising what they have and for how much off the regular price.

This year, we must acknowledge two aspects of the 2021 shopping season.

First, another growing tradition is Small Business Saturday.

Held each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it raises awareness of the importance of your patronage to small businesses throughout the year.

And while, yes, those who have small retail locations would love for you to come buy something (or several somethings), it doesn’t just stop there. Places like coffee shops and restaurants and countless others need your business, too.

It has been proven that the better small businesses do in the area, the better the area does as a whole economically. Not only does a lively, burgeoning small business scene create jobs, but how many times do you see local small businesses financially backing youth groups such as sports teams and clubs? The big chains rarely, if ever, write that check.

So, as you’re out and about today, if you can, please give a local small business a chance to serve you. We think you’ll find that places owned and operated by your friends and neighbors will often go the extra mile to earn your future business.

Not only that, you’ll get a quality local product and keep your money right here in our community.

Shop local today and every day. You’ll be glad you did.

Second, whether you shop in small businesses or larger, nationwide retailers, remember that the recovery from the pandemic has beset businesses large and small with new challenges — supply chain issues and staffing shortages among them.

So as you shop, please be patient and kind. We know the staff at our area’s retailers — particularly locally-owned businesses — are doing the best they can to serve their customers. Be courteous and understanding of their challenges. We’ll all be glad you did.

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