December 7, 2007
It is snowing, the roads are icy, the mall is jammed and there is probably a line at the Post Office to get last-minute gifts off in the mail. Which is why so many of us guilt-ridden shoppers turn to Internet giants like Amazon, L.L. Bean and iTunes in those last desperate days before Christmas. There we sit, alone, squinting at screen after screen of mass-produced products, trying to evaluate their quality from tiny images and gritting our teeth at the exorbitant shipping and wrapping fees
In the meantime, in small locally owned shops throughout Summit County, business owners have spent the whole year culling through merchandise, carefully selecting the best craftsmanship and loading their shelves in hopes of offering exactly what you are hoping to find for that finicky relative. More often than not they have cider simmering in the teapot and holiday music playing in the background.
Doesn’t that sound a lot more interesting than hitting the back button on your browser?
In addition to touching and tasting and trying on the goods, shopping close to home has other perhaps less tangible benefits. Purchases made in town rather than on the Internet generate money for the community. From generating sales taxes that help fund city services, to supporting the merchants who contribute to our local nonprofits, every dollar spent in Summit County circulates through the local economy, spinning off a little good cheer each time it makes a cash register ring.
In the old days, when local retailers were few and far between, Parkites had to resort to the Sears catalog to find something to put under the Christmas tree. But these days, the shopping alternatives within a 50-mile radius of home offer a huge variety. From genuine cowboy outfitters to high-fashion boutiques, from high end to bargain basement, from hand-made to hard-to-find, there is a gift waiting to be discovered and a local merchant who would be delighted to wrap it up with a heartfelt thank-you for your patronage.