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Shopping at home saves money, pays off all year round
We see it all the time. Parents work tirelessly to raise funds for their school's extracurricular activities. Citizens organize dinners to help finance new playground equipment in the city park. Volunteers contribute hundreds of hours to make improvements to their churches. Residents offer to serve on boards and committees to provide expertise for community causes they believe in. Hard-earned dollars are donated to non-profit organizations for the benefit of various community groups.
The reason people get involved is that they have a strong affection for their community and they want to make it a better, safer, more attractive place to live. But when these same parents, citizens, volunteers, and donors get ready to make major purchases for their homes or families, they often decide to go out of town to do so.
You have to wonder why people would work so tirelessly to make improvements to their hometowns, and not support the merchants who are the backbone of the community. We know that for some in our American culture, shopping has become more of a hobby than a necessity of life. We love to see the beautifully displayed merchandise, hear the festive music, and smell the aroma offered in mega shopping centers.
The reality is that most of that same merchandise is available right here at home. Local restaurants and bakeries offer a wide variety of tastes and smells. And in addition to the music that can often be heard from inside our local stores, shoppers will also be greeted by familiar faces that have a sincere interest in their well-being. Some other good reasons for shopping at home:
No parking hassles or traffic congestion.
Save windshield time -- a roundtrip excursion from McCook to North Platte takes 2 hours 18 minutes; Kearney--3 hours 46 minutes; Grand Island--5 hours 6 minutes; Lincoln--7 hours 18 minutes; Omaha-8 hours 44 minutes, and Denver-8 hours 30 minutes. Couldn't that time be much better spent with family and friends?
Save money -- we estimate that it costs almost $59 in gas, maintenance and meals for two to go to North Platte; almost $75 to Kearney; more than $94 to Grand Island; more than $158 to Lincoln; $180 to Omaha; and almost $170 to Denver. What additional gifts could you put under the tree by forgoing the out of town shopping this year?
When you support local business, the community as a whole benefits. Local merchants support local causes -- athletic teams, United Way, Hospice, Community Foundation, churches, YMCA, Habitat for Humanity and Senior Citizens Center. They are the volunteer coaches for your children's teams, Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. They help to organize Heritage Days, 4th of July fireworks displays, and other community celebrations. They are responsible for a strong community theater and other entertaining performances provided throughout the year.
Sales tax dollars generated at home come back to the community in the form of property tax relief, economic development, and city improvements.
Local businesses have a wide variety of merchandise, and they know the merchandise they are selling. Because they are your friends and neighbors, they have a vested interest in selling you the right thing and standing behind their products. They will usually go the extra mile to ensure your needs are taken care of.
Before you head to the hustle and bustle of out-of-town mega malls this holiday season, we challenge you to spend some time in your local community with your local merchants. Look around the community you count on for everyday needs, whether that is Imperial, Benkelman, Oberlin, Cambridge, McCook or one of the other great communities that make up Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas. We expect that you will be pleasantly surprised to find that you can fulfill many Christmas wishes locally. And the benefits of shopping at home will continue all throughout the year.