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We all love a deal. Consumers continue to look for the best way to find a bargain during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the rest of the gift-buying season. However, if we go first to the internet to find that best buy, we might be contributing to the cycle of hard times by hurting our local small businesses.
One proponent of local small business, especially in the retail sector, believes that is exactly what is happening, according to BusinessNews.
Business leaders say consumers can do their part to support local businesses. "[T]here's something simple everyone can do that can actually make an impact. Think twice before you buy on the Internet! When there's a choice of buying that gift online, or from your local retailer, buy local and keep the money in your community," said Harry J. Friedman, founder and CEO of The Friedman Group, an international retail consulting and training organization.
In what sounds like an extension of the local food movement, supporting a local store not only helps that store, but its suppliers, and even the guy who gets paid to wash the windows. Strong businesses in a community supply jobs to that community, says Friedman.
But is the lure of Cyber Monday just too strong? Online retailers have increased their promotional sales quite a bit in the last several years, reports The Washington Post. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, nearly 90 percent of retailers plan to offer special promotions Monday, up from about 70 percent three years ago. It would be hard for local retailers to beat the kind of deals offered by a national chain like JC Penney, who is offering its largest Cyber Monday sale ever, with 40,000 products discounted from 30 to 75 percent, writes The Post.
Maybe consumers could give a little thought to local businesses as they go through their gift list. If you are considering buying local anyway, go there first. If you are looking for a crazy deal on electronics or any other mass market item that needs Cyber Monday volume to really bring down the price, by all means, hit your computer. But if you want that one-of-a-kind, or fresh-made item, take a page from the foodies, and buy local first.