Shop local to strengthen town

With Black Friday behind us, how about some green sales days on our local main streets?

To help you get started a letter writer, John Polden from Elk River, has some thinking-outside-the-box suggestions.

Everyone needs their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvements by getting or staying in better shape.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small American-owned shops and car washes would love to sell you a book of gift certificates.

Polden says perhaps your grateful gift receivers would like their driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer or driveway plowed all winter or games at the local golf course.

By now you can see that letter writer Polden wants us to shop locally, be imaginative and buy American-made goods and services.

In his letter, Polden says there are many owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. If your partner doesn’t like the fancy restaurants, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local restaurants?

He goes on, “How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?”

Thinking about a gift for mom, what about the services of a cleaning lady for a day?

About something personal, local crafts people spin their own wool and knit it into scarves. They make jewelry and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

“Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And how about going out to see a stage play or a ballet at your hometown theater? Musicians need love, too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.”

Polden concludes: “You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about us, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams.

“And when we care about our communities the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. This is the new American Christmas tradition.”

Who can argue with Polden’s premise that supporting local businesses is good for the business, the community and for all of us? — Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers