This week's editorial

This week’s editorial

The Issue: Many bemoan the fact that the holiday set aside for giving thanks has become so commercial.

Our View: Small Business Saturday symbolizes the need to remember small businesses all year long.

CARLINVILLE (Nov. 23, 2017) – Thanksgiving is a holiday to which many people look forward. There’s lots of family, food and football — not necessarily in that order of importance. On the flip side of the holiday, is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — three days that are important shopping days, not only for consumers, but for businesses hoping to have a profitable year.

In recently years, an effort has been made to remind shoppers of the importance of supporting local businesses. While those participating in Black Friday are generally fixated on the deals offered by department stores and national retailers, Small Business Saturday is an attempt to bring focus to locally owned businesses in our communities. These are the businesses whose sales tax revenue support our communities. These are the places who hire local folks who, in turn, hopefully spend the money they earn at other local businesses.

One doesn’t have to drive too far down a state highway or back road to find a desolate little town that was once thriving. While it’s easy to assume such towns are failing because the people moved away, make no mistake. The first indication that a community is about to take a downward slide is its businesses. While manufacturers fail because, among other things, their products become obsolete, retailers fail because their customers decide to shop elsewhere. When this happens, it doesn’t just put a strain on the store owners; it strains the whole community.

Our communities are largely supported by the money generated through local sales tax. When that money no longer exists, it becomes not only difficult but nearly impossible to maintain things like parks and infrastructure. When communities don’t have enough funds to operate, there are layoffs. When there aren’t city employees to fix water main breaks and mow grass, the town starts to look bad. When that happens, not only do people avoid moving there, the ones who do live there start to move out. It’s a snowball effect.

The phrase “Think globally, act locally,” is often used in reference to the environment, but it applies to the economy as well. While we want this nation’s and the global economy to thrive, it has to start at the local level. It’s foolish to overlook what’s happening in our own communities in order to make sure companies like Amazon and Wayfair have a profitable year.

Sales tax must be paid no matter where we shop; therefore, it only makes sense to shop where those tax dollars will go to support the water lines that supply our neighbors and the parks in which our children play.

Small Business Saturday is a reminder to support the small businesses we drive by every day. These are the businesses that are owned by our neighbors and in which our friends work. The small business movement is more than just about a day. It’s a reminder to patronize these businesses year ‘round.

Supporting small businesses makes neighborhoods better. It makes lives better and our communities stronger. Shopping small is an investment in all that makes life better.

Face it. We are either serious about supporting the towns in which we live or we’re not. It’s really easy to encourage people to shop locally, but when we don’t act on it ourselves, it is just lip service.