Support local businesses this holiday season

Where will you do your shopping this holiday season?

That’s the question posted on our latest online poll. Here are the results so far:

• Local stores. It’s important to support Kauai’s economy. (16.3 percent)

• Online. It’s important to save money by ordering from the mainland. (12.8 percent)

• Both. As long as I’m getting good deals, I don’t care where I buy something. (40.7 percent)

• Neither. I don’t have any money to spend on presents. (30.2 percent)

Now, those results might be a bit discouraging, but perhaps a wake-up call, too. These early results indicate that many on Kauai don’t plan to do their holiday spending at local shops to support the economy. Most important is saving money. That makes sense. Everyone likes to save money and get a good deal.

Of course, we encourage people to buy local. We also want to point out that today is a good day to visit your neighborhood shops because it’s Small Business Saturday: “A day to to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.”

Yes, it’s likely you’ll save a few bucks by ordering Uncle Eddie’s Christmas sweater online. There’s no arguing against those who point out there are higher costs associated with doing business on an island in the middle of the ocean. But that said, we believe it’s a good investment to shop local, support your friends and neighbors, families who call Kauai home, and keep your money in our economy. Yes, we have selfish reasons. We want people to support our advertisers, the very folks who pay our salaries and keep The Garden Island going. But the impacts of spending $25, $100 or $500 at a store in Lihue, Kapaa, Hanapepe, Poipu, Waimea or Kilauea or Hanalei are significant and are relevant to everyone on Kauai.

Here are a few reasons cited by Independent We Stand, based on Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, as to what happens when you shop local:

• More of your money will be kept in your local economy.

• You embrace what makes your community unique.

• You create local jobs.

• You help the environment. Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.

w You nurture community. Local business owners know you, and you know them.

w Spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong— in your community.

This one is perhaps most important:

• You took advantage of their expertise. You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?

This holiday season, take some time to visit local shops. Get to know the owners and employees. Find out what they’re offering. You might not only be surprised at the products, but you might make a new friend, too.

And shop owners, this holiday season is the chance to put your best foot forward, to really showcase yourself and your craft.

Don’t miss this opportunity to help yourself and help build your community.


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