Shopping out of town hurts merchants

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

It’s our day off, and we have decided to take a little shopping trip out of town. Is that a mistake? Maybe so! It’s always great to take a little road trip after a hard workweek. What is it going to hurt?

Well, that could be Andalusia and Covington County. For every dollar you spend in another county, city or state, Andalusia, Covington County or Alabama does not get the sales tax. Not only does this hurt our merchants (many of whom are already struggling just to stay afloat), it hurts our schools.

The tax revenue generated by sales tax is one way the teachers are paid, and the schooling for our children is paid for. Everybody has something to say about why this or that has not been done, or why can’t we do this. Well, it’s because we shop out of town. Yes, I am guilty of it, too, and I own a business in Andalusia.

From this day forward, I, as well as my family, will try to purchase everything we can in town or in Covington County. I do realize there are items that are not available in our area and have to be purchased elsewhere. Our city and county workers are paid by our tax dollars. What about police and fire protection? Do you want that? When roads and buildings go unattended, that is because we do not have the money to repair them. Guess why? Because we shop out of town.

We have some great merchants in Andalusia and Covington County, and I bet that most of them will bend over backwards to get you exactly what you want. I know we will.

When you go out of town, does it really save you money? Not really. You have to pay for the gas to and from, and what if you have a meal or two, maybe just a snack. Still you paid for that, and the restaurant or fast food establishment in our town would have loved to serve you. I know the waiters and waitresses would have appreciated the tip. There are many great places to eat in the county, and if we do not support them they will not be in business for long.

The same goes for our merchants. We all try to provide the best possible prices for the quality merchandise you get. Remember, there is a cost of doing business. We pay business licenses and privilege taxes in Andalusia and Alabama. We employ people that live and hopefully spend their wages in the area. It is all a trickle down. If you want it you have to support it. If you want a great city that looks great with great places to go and great entertainment you have to support it.

As merchants we are asked every day for a donation from one charity or another, one school or another, one church or another, and we try to do what we can for each. But without the customers shopping with us, it is tough. Home parties are a great way to make a little cash, but did you ever stop and think, is the sales tax being collected, and is it being paid to the proper authorities? When computer shopping and ordering, are local sales taxes being collected? If you have a problem, whom do you call? Who will take care of the problem and how long will that take? By doing this, it is hurting all of us. This also hurts the merchants that have the same merchandise, and you will eventually see business closing and people out of work. Every action has a reaction.

We all want to live in the best city and state, but only you can make it that way. Let’s make Andalusia the best it can be.

Please support your local merchants, and we will support you. Like my daddy always said, “Son, you live as close to paradise as you can get on earth.” By the way we lived in Opp at that time. We now live in Andalusia, as do our parents and our grown children. We moved to paradise on Earth

– Chris Lawrence,