Editorial: Make the effort to buy locally over next three weeks

If you still have names on your Christmas shopping list after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consider making a conscientious

effort to buy locally over the next three weeks.

By doing so, you give a gift to your community and Southwest Louisiana.

Purchasing from local businesses supports not only the owner, but the businesses’ employees, many of whom are your neighbors

or friends.

In Louisiana, small businesses employ more than half of the private sector workforce and small businesses make up the vast

majority of employers in the state.

When they do well, so does the state. And, in many instances, Christmas season sales for these small businesses can be the

difference between a good year and a lean one.

Beyond that, many local businesses offer unique gifts that major retailers can’t duplicate.

Buying local represents a smart investment in your community. It means that the sales taxes you pay go to fund critical state

and local services like roads, schools, public employee salaries and law enforcement and fire protection.

Additionally, business owners and their employees also pay income taxes that fund necessary services on the state level.

These local businesses also give

back to the community in donations of money, services, products and time

to nonprofit agencies

that are providing a safety net for many people in our area that

have nowhere else to turn for help. More times than not,

it is the small local businesses that are doing the heavy lifting

when it comes to supporting youth recreation teams and school

organizations and other groups that depend on monetary support to

survive.

Our area has been blessed to

weather the national recession better than most regions. And the coming

tide of industrial expansion

promises even a brighter economic future for Southwest Louisiana.

But we shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

Spending locally creates positive ripples throughout our economy. And those ripples don’t just end on Dec. 25. They project

outward and carry on through the new year.

As you eye your Christmas gift list, consider putting a present under our area’s economic tree by buying local.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.