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Shopping locally benefits all of us

Black Friday may be over, but the holiday shopping season is just beginning. Most of us have at least a few names on our gift lists, so we will probably be venturing out at some point during the coming days in search of the perfect items for friends and loved ones.

We like buying presents for these special people, the folks who are closest to us, so it makes sense that we do our shopping in special stores — the businesses that are closest to us, our hometown merchants.

We’ve always believed that shopping locally makes good sense for many reasons, and that’s especially true today, when local businesses need your support more than ever. The economy is beginning to improve, but competition is keen and every dollar counts.

The National Retail Federation has predicted that holiday sales will rise about 4 percent from last year, and that’s good news, but we need to make sure that the folks who own and manage local stores — your neighbors — get their share of that business.

At Golden Triangle Mall, car counts were up 20 percent on Black Friday, compared to counts for the same day last year, and that’s another good sign for the local economy. Mall manager Matt Ludemann told us that car counts were up about 14 percent for the entire week, and based on feedback from tenants, Black Friday was a solid day for sales, and the following Saturday and Sunday were comparable to the same weekend last year.

That’s a good start, but we need to keep the momentum going, and to do that, we need to put every available dollar to work right here at home.

Like we said, there are many benefits to local shopping — increased sales tax receipts, more jobs, a stronger economy. And supporting hometown businesses encourages them to provide the items that we need and want — ensuring that we will continue to find what we’re looking for close at hand.

Denton is lucky to have an outstanding collection of retail stores within a short drive — even a short walk — from many of its residential neighborhoods.

We can think of no better shopping experience than strolling around the downtown Square, soaking up the holiday atmosphere that always permeates those charming shops, or checking out the wide selection of items to be found at businesses along University Drive, home to many other friendly and helpful merchants.

Visit many local stores during the holidays, and you’re likely to see a lot of familiar faces. Groups from local churches and schools often provide holiday music or other festive entertainment, and many local businesses also conduct food drives and other fundraising campaigns to help our less-fortunate neighbors. So you can add that benefit to the list of reasons why it pays to trade with local merchants.

This holiday season, be a good neighbor — support our local business community. It will pay big dividends for all of us.