Opinion

Are you shopping locally?

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Another holiday season is upon us, and you are more than likely in the

gift buying mode (notice I didn't say mood), wondering what you'll buy your

little brother. Our family has a tradition of buying gag gifts for relatives, many

of which I still have in my shed for future distribution. And as we think about

that holiday shopping spree, the "dreads" set in:

• I dread driving in traffic.

• I dread trying to find a parking spot.

• I dread dealing with employees at the counter who have forgotten that

I am paying their wages.

• I dread having to take back something that isn't what I wanted.

• I dread that "City" feeling when shopping.

I'm sure there are many more, but for now, those top the list.

But forget all those headaches; the answer is in your own back yard.

Local businesses have the goods and services you are looking for, and wow, none

of the dreads.

So what are the benefits of shopping locally? Well, here are just a few:

• Little or no traffic;

• Plenty of parking;

• You get to pick the hours to shop, whether after work or on the weekend;

• Many local businesses are staffed by the owners themselves, always

wanting to develop a repeat-customer clientele, so the service is good;

• Nothing beats the hometown atmosphere near the holidays; and

• Returns are easy and close at hand.

Besides the obvious benefits there are many hidden benefits. A large

number of businesses in the Valley contribute to local charities and non-profit

organizations. These organizations include Little League, HUB, and

Children's Services. Junior Football, Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer, school

activities, food banks, and the list goes on. The strong support that these

organizations receive each year could not happen without the help of local business.

In addition, local businesses employ local people, creating a job

market, which in turn provides more capital for local purchases. Taxes are collected

on local sales and fund numerous areas of our municipalities, many of which

you benefit from directly.

An additional benefit is your community newspaper. Without

businesses advertising, there would be no Valley Record and, therefore, no forum for

local news, sports and opinion. I'm sure many developers and politicians

would love it if there weren't a Valley Record to report on their Environmental

Impact Statements, or the governmental official who cost the taxpayers money

because of high cellular phone use. There would be no pictures of local

athletes, making that game-winning catch in the end zone. As you can tell, I feel

lucky that our community has an independent voice, but I also feel strongly that

our business community is one of the reasons we have such a strong sense of

community.

So do yourself a favor. Shop locally for the best in pricing, selection

and service. And enjoy your holiday shopping.

Jim McKiernan

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