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Shop local first

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We’re not ashamed of repeating this message every year: When you get ready to do your shopping this Christmas season, remember to shop local first.

    Stores all over Bedford and throughout the county have plenty to offer in the way of holiday shopping. And we should support them.
    From Moneta to Big Island, Forest to Montvale—and plenty in between—there are businesses run by our neighbors. And they have plenty to offer.
    Centertown businesses will be staying open late as part of the Christmas holiday festivities getting ready to kick off. Black Friday is more than a Roanoke or Lynchburg event. There are plenty of good deals to be had here as well. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: If you haven’t already shopped locally, this is a good time to start.    
    It’s more than just a nice slogan. It should be our habit.
    There is a growing movement to recreate the downtown atmosphere of smaller communities. Why? Because that’s what folks like.
     But while shopping centers in larger cities may now be trying to imitate the storefront shopping of our communities, the good news for us is that we have the real thing. We don’t have to recreate that atmosphere — the atmosphere of the season that only a small community can provide is right down the street. Our local businesses provide that one-of-a-kind distinctive character we enjoy.
    Statistics show that in many communities like Bedford, almost half of the shopping this season by that communities’ residents will be conducted outside of the community. Folks should make sure they think local first; that’s certainly what our local business owners do for us.
    We need to remember that money spent inside the community, stays in the community. And it should. Our local merchants invest in our community. They sponsor our ball teams, give gift certificates for our fundraisers; they attend, or even help prepare, our spaghetti suppers.
    Many non-profit organizations are supported year-round by local businesses. That support should not be forgotten.
    It’s estimated that one dollar spent in our community can turn itself over three times or more. That supports the livelihood of a community’s residents.
    Area residents have pushed hard these past couple of years to save our community schools. Supporting our community businesses is just as important.
    So take time this holiday season to support area businesses. You won’t be disappointed. Local merchants provide unique and specialized gift opportunities that you’ll likely not find at the mall or from retailers outside the area.
    Before heading east or west this season, make sure you take time to support the backbone of this area first, the merchants who support this community year-round. Visit the wide variety of stores in Bedford and the surrounding communities in the county.
    You just might be surprised at what you find. There are a lot of one-of-a-kind gifts just waiting to be bought and put under the tree for someone on your gift list.
    And that local purchase will do more than make someone happy on Christmas morning; it will benefit the entire community.