Thursday 24 January 2019
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Shop Local

Everyone knows that the traditional Christmas colors are green, white and red. For merchants, however, black is perhaps the most important color of the season. It means enough silver and gold could come their way to get their bottom line out of the red.

     Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving, is called “Black” because it is the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The season is what puts retailers in the black. Unless you are in retail, you’re probably not aware of how expensive it is to succeed in that field and how slim margins can be.  Most retailers operate at a loss throughout the year. They stay afloat because of the year-end frenzy of consumer spending.

     It is generally believed that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, but that’s not necessarily the case. Typically, busiest shopping day honors goes to the Saturday before Christmas or, if Christmas falls on a weekend, the Thursday and Friday before.

     But Black Friday is well worth celebrating, since it begins the season that makes a retailer’s year. Very few people get all of their Christmas shopping done in any single day during the season. It is the entire month (give or take) leading up to Christmas that makes the merchants merry.

     The whole thing conjures up images of ravenous shoppers barreling mindlessly through stores, trampling everyone in their way, grabbing at everything in sight, and contending with one another over the last great bargain.

     But that’s not the true holiday spirit. That spirit can be found when shoppers are truly thoughtful about what they buy and where they buy it. That’s why the small business organizations of Beaufort, Port Royal, St. Helena and the surrounding areas encourage residents to spend their money in local businesses.

     Dollars spent in our  locally owned businesses have a tremendous impact on our community. When shopping locally, the dollars stay in our community, creating jobs, funding more city services, and providing more money for community development.

     In our region, buying locally also means dining locally. Beaufort is legendary for its cuisine, from traditional fine dining to the most amazing, authentic lowcountry cooking. Tourists come from all over the world to eat right here, but these restaurants are cherished possessions of the local landscape. They’re not just for tourists. As you are doing your holiday shopping this year…and you happen upon one of those people that are so hard to buy for…consider a gift certificate for one of our local restaurants. You can’t go wrong giving a friend or family member a great meal in one of their favorite local places.

     Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy, generating jobs and improving the quality of life for citizens. For every dollar you spend locally, you are doing your part to help stimulate and preserve your local economy.

     And, don’t forget about the wonderful services provided by some of our local small businesses…services such  as hair salons, nail salons, and spas are vital to the local business mix, and provide thoughtful gift options.

     The first weekend in December brings plenty of holiday magic. Friday evening, December 1 from 6–9 p.m., is the Annual Night on the Town. Bay Street will be closed to traffic and all shops stay open late for your shopping pleasure.The evening will feature live entertainment from local choirs, dance groups and clubs.. There will also be the Lighting of the City’s Christmas Tree and Santa himself will be in attendance.

     On Saturday evening December 2, the Light Up The Night Boat Parade illuminates the waterfront from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Join Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron and Main Street Beaufort, USA as they celebrate another festive holiday season and the magical display of decorated boats ambling up the Beaufort River. Bring the family to watch the enchanted display of decorated boats with holiday cookies and hot chocolate.

     The traditional Beaufort Christmas Parade will be December 3rd at 3:00.  The parade will meander through the streets of downtown Beaufort.  Floats, bands, groups of walkers and personal cars and trucks are expected to participate. Deadline for entries s November 17th.

     Our local merchants offer thousands of products and services from local artists, artisans, farmers, and other producers of celebrated goods. Buying local means more than just supporting merchants–it supports local producers as well.

     It’s also important to remember that if you have grown accustomed to shopping online, you can shop online locally, too. Virtually all local merchants have websites. If a merchant doesn’t have purchasing capabilities on its site, simply call them. You can get the best of both worlds: on line convenience and personal service from people you know. You can even save on shipping by picking up your purchases at your convenience.

     Shopping local has so many advantages,…and with all our local businesses have to offer…why go anywhere else? Shop Local, Shop Beaufort…that’s what it’s all about!