Shopping small and local makes $ense

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By Melissa Blankenship

There are a couple of friends on my Christmas list that are virtually impossible to shop for. Maybe you have a few of those names on your list.

They have everything they need and most everything they want. These are also the people who have made it abundantly clear that they dislike gift cards, as they require “no thoughtfulness” on the part of the purchaser.

And the year I attempted to hand make all my Christmas gifts was not received especially well by these particular folks who probably donated those rather amateurish craft items to charity.

Invariably, they are the last names to get crossed off the list. After all the other gifts have been selected, purchased, wrapped and placed under the tree, I find myself desperately considering a hot sauce gift set, beer making kit or a push button, hip rolling Santa Claus crooning “Jingle Bell Rock.”

If only I could find a unique or handcrafted item especially suited for jewelry-loving Susan or a one-of-a-kind UK-emblazoned something or other for John.

WAIT! I can.

Oldham County is full of unique, one-of-a-kind independently owned retail shops that offer a wide variety of gift options for everyone on my list. There is no place more suited to support the concept of “Shop Small, Shop Local” than Oldham County.

These retailers have put their hearts and souls into their shops and inventory. They fill their shelves with things you can’t find anywhere else. They support local artists, craftspeople and authors by offering their goods for sale. They go above and beyond to help you find what you need and if they don’t have it, they will usually offer to order it for you.

In addition, buying local makes good economic sense. Statistics show that for every dollar spent at a local independent merchant, three times as much goes back into the local economy. People who depend on local dollars tend to turn around and spend their dollars locally as well.

Local dollars create jobs, keep storefronts occupied and contribute to the sense of community created by shop owners who know you by name or by your favorite item or can start your order before you do. Local retailers live here and care about their community – they have invested money, time and themselves into their shops and neighborhoods.

Not to disparage so-called big-box retailers, which certainly have their place in a local economy, but if the average American city shifted just 10% of their spending from chain stores to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy (Source: elocal.com).

So the next time you drive through a town on your way to work, take a look at the small shops and restaurants you pass by every day. Notice that cute little store you’ve always wanted to check out or cozy restaurant your friend told you to try for dinner. Decide to participate in Shop Small Saturday on Nov. 30 this year.

You will stimulate the local economy, find something interesting and maybe clear those last few names off your list.

Email us about this column at publisher@oldhamera.com.