Santa would surely agree:?It’s good to shop local

Like other people across the country, Blair County residents are increasingly tuning in to the Home Shopping Club, QVC and the various online venues when considering purchases.

It’s easy to pick up the telephone to respond to a TV sales pitch, or enter the needed information by way of a computer keyboard or other electronic device to make a purchase.

It’s not a matter of laziness, but one of convenience for the people who view with increasing disdain the time spent searching on foot for items that they want.

And, especially in regard to Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – TV and online shopping are welcomed by some as an alternative to standing in line long before daybreak, or possibly putting one’s well-being in jeopardy amid the chaos that sometimes erupts when a store’s doors open.

Black Friday, once a fun almost social event has increasingly become a dangerous experience that sometimes brings with it the disappointment of not enough product to meet demand.

All of that acknowledged, there’s more to be said about holiday shopping, and what needs to be emphasized is the importance of the holiday season for Blair County merchants. For some, the holiday season doesn’t mean a windfall of profit; instead, it’s the determinant of whether the store will continue in business for another year.

Even for those who reap a healthy profit, it’s a profit that will carry them through the weak shopping periods of the coming year. One of those periods is the down time that follows after-Christmas sales, when shoppers’ holiday shopping bills start arriving.

Meanwhile, some Blair County shoppers fail to acknowledge the negative impact of deciding to shop outside of this county – denying local merchants the revenue for identical items available here. Those shoppers don’t pause to consider that local merchants employ local people, pay local taxes, give to charitable or community projects and otherwise are good citizens.

The money that is recycled for the community’s and its residents’ benefit is money that came from the wallets and pocketbooks of shoppers leading up to the holidays or at other times of the year.

Money that’s spent at State College- or Pittsburgh-area malls, for example, benefits those areas, not Blair County.

While some items might be available only from other venues, Blair County residents, if they want their area to prosper, should strive to shop locally first.

At the same time, it’s logical for merchants here to try to attract shoppers from far beyond this county’s borders by way of the competitive spirit they should demonstrate all year long.

Blair County has much to offer shoppers, and looking at the license plate holders on vehicles at any time of the year – license plate holders indicating the place where the vehicles were purchased – provides proof that people from outside this county recognize that.

The best holiday shopping advice for Blair residents this year and any year is to patronize local merchants, and do that in a mature, responsible and safety-conscious way – not fall victim to sales pitches that deprive this area of local employment, tax revenue, community support and some merchants’ continuing existence.

That’s good advice from Santa himself. Shopping locally is fun and fruitful – and very convenient as well.