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With Christmas lights up and a bevy of area holiday parades this weekend, it’s definitely starting to look and even feel, with the recent dip in temperatures, like Christmas here in Lancaster County.
Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, we’d like to remind shoppers to Think Lancaster First.
The Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce’s shop local initiative is also in full swing, with 44 local businesses taking part in the Think Lancaster First effort.
The goal is to get Lancaster County shoppers to check out the offerings at local businesses before heading to the malls in surrounding cities or turning to the Internet.
Shopping locally for the holidays is important to the county’s economy. When you shop here, you help ensure that local retailers not only stay in business, but can expand as well – which creates a positive ripple effect in the economy that benefits us all through the higher sales tax revenues and expanded payrolls created by a bustling economy.
Not that the economy is exactly bustling these days. But that only makes it more important for us to keep more of our dollars here than spending them in another county or state.
And with most folks here still on tight budgets this year, it’s also more practical to shop here than to drive anywhere out of the county to go shopping. Wouldn’t you rather spend your hard-earned money on gifts than gasoline?
Just think what a boost it would be to our local economy if every dollar Lancaster County residents spend on gifts (an average of $715, according to a November Gallup poll) this year stayed right here in the county. Even if you consider the unemployment rate (14.2 percent in October) and figure that $715 average on a per-household basis, that rings up to about $19.5 million. Why, it would be like a homegrown stimulus package!
We know it may not be possible to do all your shopping here. We realize there are some popular stores, such as Toys “R” Us, Victoria’s Secret and Best Buy, that Lancaster County does not have. We also realize the Internet offers a convenient way to shop for everything, including some things not available locally.
But we encourage you to Think Lancaster First this Christmas season. Lancaster County has big-chain department stores, discount stores and hundreds of smaller businesses offering, literally, everything from soup to nuts. And there are not nearly the traffic jams here that you’ll encounter around the malls in Charlotte, Pineville and Rock Hill this time of year.
We think you could easily do almost all your holiday shopping at local stores. We hope every Lancaster County resident will try to do most of his or her shopping here this Christmas.
We wish you luck as you shop – and we hope you’ll find many great presents and bargains right here in Lancaster County.