Today marks the beginning of Belpre's May Madness event to encourage residents to buy at local stores. The effort can be tied in to a larger movement in which retailers nationwide seek to remind shoppers of the benefits of making local purchases.
"We at the (Belpre Chamber of Commerce) believe there is a good variety of things to buy in our stores that people just don't consider looking for here," said chamber executive director Karen Waller.
It is true, many shoppers do not think of the local options available to them in finding just about everything they need. Sometimes, local shops offer far more - both in the availability of specific merchandise and in customer service - than more distant retail destinations.
According to organizers of the Think. Shop. Buy. Local Movement, the good for the community extends beyond your shopping bags, when you buy locally. Sticking close to home will save money, time and wear and tear on the environment by eliminating longer travel times. It will help keep local folks employed. And it encourages growth, as service industries, restaurants and other businesses tend to cluster around successful local shops.
Of course, those successful local shops tend to become bigger players in the community, often supporting local charities, schools and other organizations. The circle of benefits that begins with shopping local is vital to every neighborhood.
More than 20 retailers and organizations are participating in Belpre's three-day event. But those three days should be simply a starting point for a revived local retail atmosphere. Every shopping trip should begin with the decision to keep those dollars close to home, if possible. From the paycheck for one of your neighbors to the tax money paid by the business into your community's coffers, shopping local just makes sense.
Everyone in the Mid-Ohio Valley should take a cue from Belpre's May Madness effort and adopt this very sane idea to shop locally.