It’s time to shop.

Whether it’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday, the shopping season has arrived and there is every indication that holiday spending will increase a bit this year.

Many retailers depend on the day after Thanksgiving to turn the general ledger from red to black.

During this holiday shopping season, we encourage our readers to support businesses in our region but to do so following safety protocols for the coronavirus. 

Even when shopping online remember there are many local retailers that have great online shopping experiences.

It simply makes sense to support businesses in our own region.

Keeping your shopping dollars as close to home as possible, supports local businesses and bolsters the economy.

Every dollar spent locally represents an investment in the future of our communities.

Everything on our shopping lists can be purchased somewhere in our region.

We have a plethora of diverse shops, clothing stores, discount retailers, quaint shops and electronic stores, so there is no good reason to travel out of the region.

Local businesses have a great tradition of giving back to the community.

They donate back to local nonprofits, charities, schools and churches.

Supporting those businesses supports all those organizations, institutions and agencies.

When you shop locally, you are helping to create jobs, fund local infrastructure and government services through your sales tax dollars and are helping to incubate further community development.

Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the middle class, the catalyst for economic growth and in many ways, the character of a community.

When local businesses flourish, the community flourishes.

A shopping excursion to Atlanta or Tallahassee may seem like a good time and you may think you are finding bargains, but given COVID-19 concerns and when you consider the cost of fuel, the time spent driving, the aggravation of traffic — not to even mention the bait-and-switch tactics of some retailers that entice you with offers that often are nowhere to be found — it may not be the bargain it seems to be.

Look first at what can be purchased close to home, before even considering an out-of-the-area shopping excursion.

We encourage readers to support our advertising partners, who through their advertising demonstrate their beliefs in a growing economy and commitment to the community as a whole as they grow their local businesses.

And if you shop at local stores, wear your mask, keep a safe distance and respect others.

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