Shop Local this Christmas Season

Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column

Christmas is coming, and you still haven’t finished all of your shopping?

To find that perfect gift for someone special—and help keep local businesses and reenergize our downtowns—you should think about shopping local.

To attract customers in the era of big box competition, local merchants have rolled up their sleeves and offered their customers a wide selection of goods and products, competitively priced, plus a level of service and in-depth knowledge that you’ll remember from years past.

You will find unique gifts as well, many created right here in our communities by local artists and crafters. And while you are shopping, don’t forget our farm businesses. Whether it’s locally produced maple syrup, locally grown Christmas trees, honey, cheese, beef, lamb, wool, pork, chicken, or exotic items ranging from alpaca, fallow deer, bison or elk, many of our region’s farms, both large and small, have unique items to offer.

Your first stop could even be on line. Look for products and services that you need in your local community. Keeping your shopping dollars local could mean the difference from many of these hardworking business people, and it can help strengthen our communities too.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities, and they hold the key to helping grow our economy, providing more jobs and making our towns and villages better places to live.

If you are like a lot of people, it’s been a while since you’ve visited some of the stores and businesses in your community. Stop in. You may be surprised by what you find.