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Black Friday

November 26, 2010

Yesterday I was enjoying a great Thanksgiving dinner with good friends, and had a nice warm feeling while thinking that this was the one day of year that America shares together, regardless of political persuasion or religion. Then we watched the news later that night and saw that some people had actually been out shopping, taking advantage of (very early) Black Friday deals. Sort of a reality check there.

Now, I know that people are suffering because of the downturn in the economy, and I know that the traditional view on economic growth is that people need to spend money in order to get the economy moving again. But I’d like to propose at the least a modified version of that point of view.

Shop local.

That phrase is bandied about these days, but for good reason. Studies show that for every dollar you spend at a local store, more money stays in the local economy than when you spend that same dollar at a national chain store. Although the specific figures vary, one example is a study conducted in Western Michigan which demonstrated that, on average, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 stayed put in the local economy, while for every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, only $43 stays in the local economy.

For holiday shopping, you can also find independent artisans who’s goods might or might not be found in stores. Sites like Etsy even let you search for local artisans, so great, unique gifts are easy to come by.

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