Be neighborly and shop in your neighborhood

Happy December!

For many of us, turning the calendar page from November drives home the reality that our Christmas shopping weeks are now fewer than the number of branches on Charlie Brown’s sparse yet plucky tree.

We are thankful that there’s nothing sparse about Hinsdale’s business community, with dozens of unique shops selling products that you’d be hard-pressed to find on shelves or racks anywhere else. The village’s economic pulse is strong due in large part to the faithful patronage of residents and out-of-town visitors who value what small businesses contribute to the overall livability and vitality of the community, and seek to support those merchants as regularly as possible.

So as we think about that long list of holiday purchases that remains to be checked off, let’s pause before pulling up that website or app and consider the much deeper investment that is made when one eschews the impersonal click for the in-person trip into town to shop locally. Here are some reasons from Forbes Finance Council to help sell you:

• Stimulate the local economy

Finding the “best deal” can be satisfying, no doubt. But buying local is better for your community and for your wallet as the sales tax revenue generated is reinvested by village officials into the village. Shopping at some big box store elsewhere or online reaps no such benefit.

• Reduce the carbon footprint

A local small business tends to make more local purchases, which requires less transportation (less pollution and congestion). And in town locations produce less traffic and have less environmental impact than large malls or warehouse stores.

• Create more jobs

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, employing half of the private workforce. Local merchants promote economic growth and provide employment opportunities close to home for that empty nester or teenager down the street.

• Buying begets giving

Small businesses are big supporters of local community charities and causes, with studies indicating they donate 250 percent more than large businesses to local nonprofits and outreach efforts, creating a positive cycle of giving back locally.

• Better customer service

Local store owners know their patron satisfaction is essential. Staff can be expected to be well-versed on products and will take the time to get to know you and your needs — without pressure from what corporate is pushing them to sell.

• Nurture innovation and growth

For local businesses to flourish, they need to stand out from big box competition and innovate with problem-solving fixes and thoughtfully sourced, unique products that meet the desires and imaginations of their customer base.

For some inspiration, make sure to check out the items selected in our gift ideas series running on Page 5. The second installment is in this issue. The first listing of enticing merchandise available at Hinsdale stores appeared last week, and more will be featured in the Dec. 8 and 15 issues.

There’s nothing wrong thinking globally. In fact we all should. And the vibrancy of small local businesses is assuredly an element that makes our world better.