EDITORIAL: Buy it in the region

By NEMS Daily Journal

The huge holiday crowds flocking to downtown stores, malls and shopping centers across Northeast Mississippi enrich the region’s economy in sustaining jobs and generating the revenues from sales taxes providing many public services, schools and recreation programs in communities large and small.
Retailers in Northeast Mississippi rely heavily on people who not only want to please friends and relatives with quality gifts but also express loyalty to their communities and the region.
Shoppers who keep their dollars close to home support diversity and vitality in the economy that’s outside our front doors, and it creates an all-positive situation for all.
Surveys made during the recession that started in late 2007 have found that more holiday shoppers deliberately have sought out local purchasing nationwide.
A bookstore owner in Oregon said that growing public awareness and support particularly for independent businesses “has been critical to our ability to stay in business during down economic times.”
The survey was conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit research organization, in partnership with several business organizations, including the American Booksellers Association, American Independent Business Alliance, American Specialty Toy Retailers Association, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and National Bicycle Dealers Association.
Similar surveys in 2009 and 2008 likewise found that independent businesses in cities with “Buy Local” campaigns reported stronger sales than those in communities without such an initiative.
A strong mix of locally owned and corporate stores is equally healthy for every town’s and region’s economy. Free market competition, after all, is a thoroughly proven and essential component of the market system as we know it in Northeast Mississippi – and across the U.S.
We believe it’s fair and economically healthy to ask residents as much as possible to keep all their holiday shopping within the region. Retail diversity in our region is enormous, and only the rarest of gift needs can’t be purchased in stores employing people we know, mostly Mississippians.
Every newspaper and every other locally/regionally focused advertising medium understands the value of supporting their advertising base, but the larger benefit is about jobs and about profits that help the region.
More money retained in Mississippi – and our region specifically – enhances general economic prospects and the quality of life from wage earners relying on buying at home.
The gifts bought from a warehouse in, say, Nebraska simply don’t yield the same benefit as the same or similar gifts from Northeast Mississippi.