We’ve said this before, and it bears repeating — please shop locally — in Carteret County.

Tomorrow is “Small Business Saturday,” a day to celebrate small retailers and shop local, said News-Times Business Pulse editor Elise Clouser Wednesday.

 The campaign started in 2010 by American Express to encourage people to “shop small” and to inject small business with a much needed shot in the arm.”

“We just encourage everybody to shop local and visit the local downtown retailers and spend their dollars locally,” said Downtown Morehead City Executive Director Lisa Rueh in Wednesday’s paper.

“It’s important to support your small businesses because they give back so much to the community. Those are always the ones we call on for donations for fundraisers and sponsorships and it’s nice for people to give back. Plus, there’s just so many unique finds in the local stores.”

American Express says for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., 67¢ goes back directly into the local economy. Since the effort began 10 years ago consumers have spent more than $103 billion on Small Business Saturday.

“Retail is changing,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer at American Express, “but local shops are the fabric of our communities. Helping them thrive in the future is part of our brand ethos and backing promise.”

With Thanksgiving over yesterday, the Christmas season is in full swing, which includes shopping. Because shopping locally is paramount, we implore shoppers to shop locally. The benefits are multiple.

By shopping locally, we’re investing in our community and our county.

The Christmas shopping season is when an estimated 35% to 40% of a store’s profits are realized. When a store profits, we all benefit together.

Why support our local merchants?

The obvious answer is to ensure they remain in business throughout the year to serve all their customers — including us.

Also, county merchants own independent businesses employing county residents.

These businesses and merchants, like their employees, pay taxes and contribute to all kinds of causes, including many charities.

Without these local, independent businesses, those whom they employ, just as we who live in Carteret County and other counties where local, independent businesses exist and thrive, would be the poorer.

The benefits derived from shopping locally are numerous:

• Convenience

• Helping friends and neighbors

• Much easier to return items

• Dealing with people we know, not strangers

• Saving time and energy (gasoline)

• The personal touch enhances the shopping or buying experience, making it pleasurable

• Ensuring businesses that have a vested interest and investment in Carteret County and North Carolina thrive and continue to exist.

Saying this year should be a particularly special Small Business Saturday because many area retailers were still closed after Hurricane Florence last year, Ms. Rueh said not only are the majority of businesses back open now, but several new businesses have opened in downtown Morehead City.

Whether one shops in downtown or uptown Morehead City or Beaufort, Newport, or on Bogue Banks please shop locally.

Instead of ordering online or doing one stop shopping at the nearest big box store, shop at small, locally owned businesses.

Please shop locally. Many people — you, your friends and neighbors — will benefit.

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