The holiday shopping experience is as varied as the gifts being sought.
Some shoppers revel in the exhilaration of the Black Friday frenzy; others seek a more serene, one-on-one setting to ask a merchant's advice. Some of us prepare and adhere to lists; others prefer spontaneity. Some shoppers possess grab-and-go decisiveness; others must compare pricing and quality at various venues before buying.
Despite differences of style, two common denominators exist.
First, shoppers are most satisfied when they find the perfect - or, at least, the best available - gift.
And, shoppers help themselves and their community when they shop locally.
For shoppers, patronizing local businesses helps eliminate guesswork. No catalog or computer keyboard permits shoppers to evaluate size, feel fabrics and textures, or observe colors in natural light. Building rapport with local merchants helps you tap their expertise when confronting choices. And, the transaction concludes with no loose ends, such as whether the correct item will be sent or whether it will arrive on time.
Shopping locally also enhances our community, including local government, economic development and quality of life.
Jefferson City and Cole County collect a range of sales taxes for capital improvements, parks and recreation, law enforcement and ambulance services.
Shopping locally helps existing merchants thrive and attracts new businesses. When a local business enjoys profitability, it may expand its space or open satellite locations. The business pays more taxes and creates more jobs, while customers enjoy more convenient locations or larger selections of products.
Finally, the business community is a major player in the charitable and compassionate efforts that are a mainstay of our community.
As evidence, we invite our readers to look at the lists of businesses cited by local organizations in frequent advertisements thanking sponsors for assistance with celebrations and fundraisers.
Our community not only would be poorer, it would be destitute, without a healthy, vibrant and compassionate collection of local merchants.
Let them continue to help you - and all of us. Shop locally.