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Don't overlook locally-owned businesses this weekend

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL: Locally-owned businesses are the lifeblood of the community

While the biggest crush of Black Friday weekend has passed, there are still a great many people out today looking for bargains.

We hope a lot of those folks will look close to home. Specifically, we hope they will drop by locally-owned businesses.

As Black Friday weekend has developed, locally-owned merchants have attempted to market Small Business Saturday. The idea is to remind shoppers that some great bargains can be found at businesses that are owned by people they might know, businesses that will keep the majority of the money they spend circulating within the community.

“If you want to make a difference this holiday season, shop local and shop small,” Kyle Jackson, Georgia director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said earlier this month.

National retail officials note that more than half of shoppers waited until the final two weeks of November to start Christmas shopping. AAA The Auto Group’s annual Christmas shopping survey found that 90 percent of the respondents in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee planned to buy holiday gifts.

While Black Friday is a misnomer in that many large businesses are already into profit earlier in the year, the last two months of the year can be critical a locally owned business. And a local economy is much healthier when local businesses are doing well.

"Small and independent business owners are among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity,” Jackson said. “Shopping small and shopping local — on Small Business Saturday and every other day of the year — is a great way for people to help their friends and neighbors and create jobs and opportunities in the places where they live.”

The business world is a tough one, and with fewer resources than their mammoth competitors small, locally owned businesses can be at a disadvantage. But they also offer quality products, many of which can’t be found at other places, and the type of one-on-one service that makes a shopping trip more pleasant.

By investing in locally-owned businesses by shopping at them, you’re investing in your community.

If you’re out shopping today, take a few minutes to drop by a locally-owned store that you haven’t visited. You might find something special that you might otherwise have missed, and you could make a new friend in the process.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board