November 29, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

In the downtown business community, merchants have been gearing up for some time.

We're urging residents to support Carroll-area businesses rather than shopping in the malls of Des Moines or Omaha, Neb., Ames, or keystroking around the Internet to fill their holiday lists.

The money you spend in Carroll now comes back to you in so many ways.

There are the obvious economic factors, like keeping more disposable income here in town. The Multiplier Effect holds that every dollar spent here rolls over seven times.

But there's more to it than just Economics 101.

Unless you work in the commercial district, you probably have no idea how many charities and school groups and service organizations reach out to local businesses for their causes every year.

It's the price of doing business. It's nice to participate.

And it makes for a better community, this giving a dollar here and a dollar there.

When kids want new band uniforms at one of our schools, it's not going to be that shells out for the fundraiser.

When a local kid is sick, and the medical bills are insurmountable, or tragedy strikes and funerals must be funded for families, it's often the local businesses, not Target or Best Buy or the shamefully overpriced boutique brand-name stores at Jordan Creek Mall, that donate to the cause.

Now, we're not saying people should buy absolutely everything from Carroll-area stores.

And neither are the Chamber of Commerce people.

At the very least, though, give Carroll your first look, give our merchants the initial shot at your dollar, and nobody is going to scarlet-letter you with the traitor stamp should you be spotted, bags in hand, at a West Des Moines mall.

There are a lot of great gifts in interesting stores right here in Carroll.

And if they don't have the right gift, local merchants can get it for you.

Here's another angle: use the Internet for local purchases.

Search the Web for products you're interested in and then find local merchants who carry the items - or get them to order the merchandise for you.

Consumers can save time and money this way.

Now, more than ever, is a time to make a Carroll-area statement with your consumer dollars.

Moreover, by shopping in Carroll you will be supporting local businesspeople, people you know - not those often rude, dismissive temporary clerks, dripping wet with judgment with urban irony, in the malls of the bigger Iowa cities.