COLUMN: Holiday season is shop local season

Published 9:15 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

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Wow, we’re almost to November and before you know it we will be relishing in all the holiday season has to offer in Andalusia. We already see signs of what is to come as preparations are underway for Candyland events.

Between all the fun the season has to offer, there are the chores involved, most notably the tedious task of Christmas shopping (tedious to only some of us, I suppose). Soon enough the ‘bells will be ringing’ and so will cash registers as we open our wallets to celebrate the experience of giving.

As we start making our lists and checking them twice, we should all give back to ourselves by considering what items we can purchase right here at home. By shopping locally this holiday season we are not only supporting our local businesses, but we’re also supporting our neighbors, families, and friends who are employed locally as well as providing tax dollars that can be used for the public good, such as infrastructure improvements, parks, schools, and so much more.

According to a Civic Economics Study held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was determined that when consumers spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy.

Also supporting local businesses help those same stores and shops give back to our community. According to SCORE, a national nonprofit organization made up of retired business professionals who help small businesses achieve their goals, small businesses donate 250 percent more to local nonprofits and other community causes. Breaking that down even further, 66 percent of small businesses give to local charities, 48 percent support youth sports and education causes, 42 percent donate to local first responders, 39 percent give to local religious organizations, and 37 percent provide support to civic groups such as Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and Kiwanis Club.

When we shop locally we create a cycle that benefits businesses, employees, governments, non-profits, and residents. We are fortunate in Andalusia to have a variety of retail stores that offer a plethora of products — both everyday items and things that are a bit more unique. There are not very many reasons to travel the 60 miles or more to larger areas for shopping and you save yourself a pile of cash at the gas station.

While many shoppers will battle it out for the big-box deals on Black Friday, let’s not forget about Small Business Saturday — to be Saturday, Nov. 25 this year — and check out the great deals available from those businesses that are run by the people we know on a personal level.

In 2021, consumers who participated in Small Business Saturday spent $23.3 billion, according to

As you prepare to hit the stores this shopping season, consider if it is truly worth losing money to travel out of town. Everything you need can be found right here at home.

— Robert Blankenship is the publisher of the Andalusia Star- News. He may be reached at