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Shop ‘small,’ at home

Bob Brooks of Brooks TruValue Hardware puts together a train set.

This holiday shopping weekend, residents are being encouraged to “shop small,” as in the area’s local small businesses.

And that’s just what local residents Heather Owen and Starr Odom are planning on doing.

“I had the greatest email in reference to that,” Odom said. “It talked about getting people things that they use all the time like hair cuts, a mani/pedi, gift certificates for local venders, tickets to local productions, car wash and detailings and things like that.

“We always try to shop Andalusia,” she said. “We are blessed to live in a community like ours.”

And that’s music to the ears of local community leaders like Commission Chairman Lynn Sasser.

“We get sales tax money off those purchases when people shop locally,” Sasser said. “That money is very important to the county and goes to pay for things like roads and bridges.

“(That sales tax money) is vital to our economy,” he said.

Rosemary Elebash, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Alabama’s leading small-business association, said that holiday shoppers can invest in their communities by shopping at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“Black Friday is when a lot of people like to get up early and line up outside the department stores, but if you’re looking for something unique and want to support your friends and neighbors, then you need to shop at small businesses,” Elebash said.

This year’s holiday shopping season is crucial to the state’s small businesses, which are still struggling to rebound from the weak economy.

Lousia Baker, owner of Ansley Place, said she’s participating in the shop local event Saturday.

“We are so grateful for our local customers,” she said. “Without their business, we, or any other local business, couldn’t survive.”