As the holidays approach, we are all inundated with advertising offers and great holiday deals from retailers large and small. We are proud to count The Hawk Eye among the sources of these marketing messages. Sometimes one particular message is lost in the din of sales, discounts, BOGOs and “never before seen” prices. That message is a simple one: Shop Local.

As this area’s community newspaper, The Hawk Eye needs to amplify and support this message as much as possible. Shop Local sounds good, but it is much more than a marketing slogan. It is the lifeblood of our communities. For many, this concept is the difference between a thriving storefront and another empty address. It is the difference between hiring extra employees who themselves purchase local goods and services and downsizing staffs due to falling revenues.

Everyone wants a growing and vibrant local business community, but the question remains: "What are you willing to do about it?”

Is it more important to buy something $3 cheaper over the internet, or to walk into the local store and have a face to face conversation with the shopkeeper? As long as you are able, is it more important to have something delivered to your door or to remove yourself from the couch and drive five minutes and get it personally? Does the recipient of your gift appreciate a gift card from an online retailer named for the longest river in the world or something you shopped for and selected personally just for them at a shop situated along the banks of the longest river in North America?

We all understand shopping locally is the right thing to do. It is not, however, the easiest. But we would ask you to consider this truth: the right thing is rarely the easiest.

“When people shop here in Des Moines County it helps out our retail sales tax and helps fund the services our city offers,” said Kay Sackville Breuer, vice president Greater Burlington Partnership.

The same is true for all the communities in our region and according to a Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development study, for every $100 in consumer spending with a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy.

So as this Christmas season approaches, please remember this is the season of giving. This year, be sure to give to everyone on your list, including the local communities where you live. Burlington, Fort Madison, Keokuk and Mount Pleasant all have unique businesses that would love to help fill your family’s stockings. And there are many more in the small towns of southeast Iowa and west-central Illinois waiting to be discovered.

Shop Local is simply the right thing to do.


The Hawk Eye