Opinion

Think local for holiday shopping

Isn't the Christmas season great? The end of the year brings a sense of accomplishment, usually, and allows for new beginnings with the entrance to the new year.

But as you wind down your holiday shopping chores, do us all a favor and think local. Our local merchants are struggling through the same economy that we are all dealing with. But they still find time and money to donate to many local charitable organizations. Small business is the backbone of this community and they have most of the products and services we need.

I typically write an editorial this time of year to urge each of you to shop locally. It's an interesting loop that we sometimes forget but as dollars are spent locally, those businesses in turn pay their employees wages and some of those employees may be our friends and neighbors. In addition, those employees will spend some of their wages here as well.

Cities benefit in the form of sales tax. Local charitable organizations grow since a business is more likely to support their causes if they are having a profitable year and possibly more local jobs are created as the businesses expand.

But this same thinking needs to apply to our local governments and developers as well. I know there are cases where a city or developer may be using a business from outside the Valley based strictly on price. Even when prices are close in range, they go with the lowest bid.

So as the contract is awarded to a nonlocal company, the dollars paid to that contractor are not likely to find their way back into our local businesses in the form of wages and subsequently not in spending. As the economy tightens and more of our friends and neighbors are struggling to survive, let's do what we can to keep them employed.

Anyone who knows me knows my passion for the local business owners. But a good friend of mine stopped in to see me last week to talk about dirt, literally. It seems this friend has a whole lot of dirt that has to go. This is good dirt, top quality topsoil and there are thousands of yards of the stuff. His dilemma was lack of demand. So I asked where the dirt for the new ball fields in Snoqualmie come from? Outside the Valley. My question to him then was, were you cheaper? Yes. So why would someone buy dirt from outside the Valley when there is a cheaper, plentiful supply right here from a company that employs quite a few local residents? That question is not an easy one to answer, but it does highlight the need to be conscious about shopping locally in all of our activities, if possible.

Obviously my answer in that case is a simple one and anyone who knows me also knows I tend to be simple minded at times. It may not be that easy of an answer.

Please, shop for products and services locally. A dollar that remains in the Valley will go a long ways in assuring our continued prosperity and keep us a cohesive community.

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