Support your local economy

The shopping experience known as Black Friday is today, so we want to reflect on the day’s big impact on local merchants’ bottom line.

Black Friday and the weeks following it leading up to Christmas can be a make-or-break time for retailers.

Actually, it’s not uncommon for some stores to operate at a financial loss for much of the year and only start realizing a profit after families’ Thanksgiving feasts have given way to the start of buying what’s on their holiday gift lists.

If you want your local stores to remain vibrant shopping meccas after holiday decorations have been packed away for another year — if you want to help ensure that they’ll be around for next year’s holiday shopping — the best advice is to patronize them in the weeks ahead.

Don’t use the fact that Black Friday shopping now starts at some stores on Thanksgiving Day as an excuse to start your shopping at some out-of-town mall or shopping center.

And the money you’ll save on gasoline by shopping locally might buy — or help buy — another gift for someone on your list, or perhaps something for yourself that you’ve been putting off.

Another point: When you support local merchants, you help them support local organizations and activities throughout the year.

That financial support is part of the good fallout from Black Friday and the shopping days leading up to Dec. 25.

But the theme “buy local” is not confined to these latter weeks of the year.

An article in the Wall Street Journal headlined, “Retailers’ holiday wish: Beat Amazon,” discussed some stores’ decision to offer earlier discounts and store prices lower than items sold online.

That’s part of the intent of those local merchants who are getting Black Friday shopping off to an earlier start, while keeping the incentive alive not to abandon shopping on Black Friday itself.

Oh, and don’t forget Small Business Saturday tomorrow!