Before you are standing in line at that big department store, Christmas gifts flung across your arms, we want you to take a moment to think about where your dollars are going.
We can’t say which foreign manufacturer is benefiting from your hard-earned cash, but we can say where your money is not going: to your community.
The best way to keep our islands thriving is to support local businesses. Your friends and neighbors in their shops, stores and restaurants want to make your holidays merry, and they need your patronage to make the season bright for themselves, their employees and families.
Islanders support local businesses because those businesses sell quality products at fair prices, and because islanders know that if they don’t buy locally, those businesses simply can’t continue.
Two-thirds of the money you spend on island stays here. For most merchants that money puts food on the table for their families and dresses their children in warm clothes. One hundred dollars spent on San Juan, Orcas or Lopez means a lot to those communities. That same $100 doesn’t have the same effect on the mainland. And the five or 10 percent you think you’re saving by buying off island, instead goes toward ferry fares and fuel prices. Plus, you get the unsavory seasonal experiences of crowded parking lots, empty shelves and long lines at the cash register when you trek off island to make your purchases.
Also consider gift certificates. Everyone gets their hair cut. Many people love receiving a therapeutic massage. How about a membership to the health club or other fitness studio? An oil change? Dinner out at a restaurant or coffee from a local cafe? One week’s worth of cleaning services?
We understand there are some big ticket items that simply cannot be found on the island. But for everything else – and there is a lot – look for what you need right here. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the place you call home.
Do yourself and your fellow islanders a favor: shop locally this winter. If you really want to take a ferry, take it to one of the other islands. Tell them the newspaper sent you.