Our view: Bargains in your backyard | CraigDailyPress.com

Our view: Bargains in your backyard

What’s on your Christmas shopping list?

Kitchen gadgets?

Books?

Children’s toys?

Or maybe an iPod or flat-panel TV?

Every year, many Craig residents make a mass exodus to shopping centers in Grand Junction and surrounding areas to do their Christmas shopping.

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The editorial board encourages residents to browse Craig stores first before heading out of town.

Small, local businesses offer a wide variety of items, which can include special-ordered gifts. Residents also can shop locally by purchasing gift cards to area businesses instead of chain stores outside of Craig.

In addition to saving on fuel, buying in Craig benefits the community at large.

On average, once a dollar is spent in a community, it is spent in the local market six more times before moving out into other economies. For instance, dollars spent at these stores go back to employees’ paychecks, which then may be spent at other local businesses, etc.

Taxes generated by area sales go into general funds for the city and county, where they support various local projects and services.

However, to keep Christmas shoppers within county limits this year, shoppers and business owners need to pitch in.

Some already have. Several local businesses are planning to extend their business hours this Christmas season.

We applaud these businesses and urge others to follow suit.

Meeting customers’ holiday gift needs could include staying open a few extra hours in the evening. Or, businesses could open later to allow for a cost-effective, later closing time.

However they chose to do it, businesses should make the effort to adjust. If customers can’t shop when they get off work at local companies, they may take their business somewhere else where they can.

Not all board members’ recent shopping experiences have been positive. Several pointed to lagging customer service at several chain retail stores.

Stores sticking to a business-as-usual mentality or that are letting customer service slip should remember that the last-minute shoppers can be a potential goldmine of revenue – and worth a little effort in customer service training.

Still, the editorial board applauds businesses that are making an effort to make customers’ holiday shopping successful and pleasant.

Several board members have noticed that when a small business employee doesn’t have what a customer is looking for, he or she will refer the shopper to another local store down the street. These types of referrals are an example of putting the customers’ needs before the bottom line.

Let’s keep our dollars circulating in our community this holiday season.

Fundraising options abound this Christmas

Area nonprofits, churches and organizations looking for a fundraiser also could stand to benefit from the holiday shopping season. These groups could set up gift-wrapping stations, either at area stores or at a central location somewhere in town.

This type of fundraiser could generate money for numerous projects and needed materials. For instance, proceeds from an elementary school gift-wrapping station could go toward purchasing an interactive white board for classroom use.

Groups that offer to wrap holiday gifts also could give residents another incentive for shopping locally this year. Editorial board members identified gift-wrapping as a service some other communities or shopping centers offer that might draw holiday shoppers out of Craig.

If local groups step up and take advantage of this opportunity, everyone stands to benefit.

Our view

Community and businesses should work together to keep holiday shopping local