On Thursday, we said grace, then laid waste to the abundance of a Thanksgiving meal. Then the great American gorging — holiday shopping — really began.
Black Friday is traditionally the day reserved for crashing the retail infrastructure, but we’ve been told for a couple of months now to “shop early” because of trouble with moving merchandise around the world and getting it to store shelves.
But old traditions don’t go gently, so plenty of folks spent this past week revving up their charge cards. We’ve been heartened to see plenty of activity on the streets of our downtowns ahead of “Shop Small” Saturday.
Our thriving collection of small retailers — the envy of small-town North Carolina — succeeds only with your patronage. In an age when it’s growing ever easier to tap a link and order something online, it still takes a small effort to visit a local business and buy gifts.
But make sure you “pack your patience,” as we’ve been warned repeatedly. For merchants of all sorts these next four weeks, we must remember that grace is not merely something said, but given.
Keeping It In Town
It’s a jungle out there when it comes to shopping, whether it’s the hunt for parking or a scramble to scour half-filled shelves. That’s why it’s even more important this year to keep your retailing local.
Shopping local helps keep your money in town and circulating to other businesses. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a local store, $68 of that purchase stays in the community.
Buying a gift at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, The Gentlemen’s Corner in Pinehurst or Hit Point Hobbies in Aberdeen supports the salary of local workers. But it also means that money gets recirculated to another local business, whether it’s a local accountant, wholesaler or attorney.
And those small business owners are also major supporters of local nonprofits. Your patronage is helping them to sponsor community concerts, charitable giving and the public good.
Two years ago the Moore County Chamber of Commerce started its “Together We Are Moore” social media campaign as a way to encourage local shopping on a year-round basis. When COVID-19 hit, the hashtag was embraced as a call to action: More than 11,000 posts have been shared on Instagram.
Linda Parsons, the chamber’s president and CEO, said gratitude and grace are the next steps to ensure the local economy, including online and brick-and-mortar shops, remains vibrant.
Kindness and Grace
“Our business community has been stretched beyond imaginable realms,” Parsons said. “This year there are things we can all do to support our local businesses with grace and patience. Everybody is tired. But with a smile and your purchase, you can say thank you. Thank you for the service, thank you for providing the product.”
For shoppers who are on the lookout for unique or creative gifts, they are more likely to find those at small shops locally than in the large-scale retailers. The merchandise has been personally curated by the owner, rather than brought by the ocean freighter — especially this year, when much of Christmas remains stacked in ports around the world.
“People need to think outside the box, literally the cargo box,” Parsons said. “No one has asked for these shortages, everyone is short-staffed, and shipping is slower. But your $20 spent here supports that business and its staff, who can go out and support another local business.
“If people can remember all the hard work it takes for our shops and restaurants to get that product or meal to you — and they do it with a smile — your experience will be much more rewarding. Every resident in Moore County can make a difference.”