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Our Opinion: 7,000 new reasons to shop local

When it comes to Christmas shopping, it’s much better for the community if you don’t do too much of it online.

Good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar businesses support the community through property taxes and contributions to charities and events, and provide the jobs that keep the local economy strong.

Remember, spending $100 at a locally owned independent business keeps $68 within the local economy.

Spending $100 at a national chain keeps $43 within the local economy.

Shopping online keeps absolutely nothing in the local economy, unless the online vendor is local — and they usually aren’t.

If local businesses don’t survive, homeowners will be responsible for a larger share of the property tax burden.

Right now, 42 percent of the local and state tax burden in Minnesota is paid by businesses.

In addition to offering goods and dependable services, local merchants also support community holiday events that help brighten the season.

Need more incentive?

Thanks to some local banks, there are 7,000 more reasons to patronize Detroit Lakes businesses this Christmas shopping season.

The banks — Midwest, Bell State, First Security, Bremer and American National — have made $7,000 in prizes available this year through the Merry Christmas Card campaign.

Spearheaded by this newspaper, the Christmas Card Event has grown and become more popular each year for the past few years. This shopping season, it runs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20.

Here’s how it works: Pick up a card at any of the 34 participating businesses or at the newspaper lobby.

Each card has $100 worth of spaces to be filled in, in $5 and $10 increments. The more you shop at participating businesses, the more cards you can fill up and turn in for prize drawings, held Dec. 2, 9 and 16. The grand prize drawing is Dec. 20.

Specials prizes will also be given by the Washington Square Mall and Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Weekly winners will be posted in the newspaper and on DL-Online.

It’s a great opportunity to keep your shopping local, and maybe be rewarded with a prize for your efforts.

But whether you participate in the Christmas Card Event or not, your dollars will have the most impact spent locally.

Saturday, Nov. 30, American Express is asking consumers to shop local on Small Business Saturday.

A recent nationwide survey by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business shows up to 67 percent of small business owners plan to offer discounted merchandise and 21 percent will schedule more workers on Small Business Saturday.

So keep the small guys in mind on Saturday, and don’t blow all your shopping cash on Black Friday. As for Cyber Monday, do the community a favor and give it a miss this year, except for local merchants.

Save yourself time and gasoline and keep it local this year.

One additional benefit: Really good customer service. Local businesses have knowledgeable service people and stand behind what they sell.