Shop Local All Year Long

By Fred Gaffney, President, Columbia Montour Chamber

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become known as Small Business Saturday, thanks to a campaign started by the American Express credit card company in 2010 to encourage holiday shopping at small businesses. Indeed, small businesses should be patronized and celebrated, but not just one day a year. The vibrancy of our communities is dependent upon people supporting local businesses all year long.

When you spend money locally, more of that money stays in our area. Your dollars support local jobs. Those businesses pay local taxes, and contribute back to the community in other ways. Local businesses support non-profit organizations, youth sports, and cultural activities that enhance our quality of life. The parades, festivals, and visits with Santa that will help us get into the holiday spirit in the coming days are possible thanks to the support of local businesses.

Online shopping may provide endless options and convenience in checking items off your list, but think about the value of talking with someone in a store when trying to find a special gift, or how much you appreciate dining options when you need a break from that shopping. Local businesses also provide the choice and customer service that we often take for granted. They also are an important part of what makes our area a great place to live. 

Contact the Chamber of Commerce if you need ideas on how you can support local businesses this holiday season, and throughout the year. The Chamber offers special gift certificates in any amount that can be redeemed at any local business during the year. They can be purchased at the Chamber office at 238 Market St. in downtown Bloomsburg.