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Chamber encourages shopping local

FAIRMONT– This Saturday has been dubbed Small Business Saturday. The day is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which promote big box retail and e-commerce, respectively. Small Business Saturday was first held in the U.S. in 2010.

The whole idea of Small Business Saturday is to encourage people to shop at local small businesses, especially during the holiday season.

Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce President, Kandi Menne, said that the Chamber always encourages people to think about local businesses first.

“They should think, ‘can I buy this right here in my own community?’ Menne said.

She said that last weekend’s Glows Parade, which went through Downtown Plaza, was really the kick-off to the holiday season.

“There was well over 1,000 spectators lining the street in anticipation for the parade. Most businesses were open before, during and after the parade. They really did experience shoppers coming in and had a lot of sales as they were just starting their holiday promotions,” Menne said.

Menne noted that it seems as if more stores are having sales earlier, and more frequently, to better accommodate shoppers.

“It seems like there’s been an increase in spending. That of course boosts the economy. Where you spend your money matters,” Menne said.

She explained that when people support local businesses in their town, it creates jobs in their community.

“People have a paycheck and spend their money back hopefully in the community,” Menne explained.

She said that many of the businesses also donate back to the community by contributing to a charity or an activity at area schools. She also pointed out that the sales tax goes into a fund and is spent locally on projects.

“With the liquor store, it’s a municipal, so all of the profits and proceeds form the local store come right back into Fairmont also,” Menne said.

Shopping local not only provides convenience, but great customer service as people can easily follow up on the sale.

As for what’s all available locally, Menne said she herself has been surprised at what’s all offered here.

“We encourage everyone to get out of their car and walk through Downtown Plaza or the mall, look into the store fronts, go inside, say hi and see what they have. There’s a good chance you’ll determine that you won’t need to go out of town to do your shopping,” Menne said.

She said that the business district goes far beyond Downtown Plaza and the mall, as there are businesses along State Street and Albion Avenue in Fairmont.

For those who want buy a gift locally but are unsure what to get, Menne said that Chamber Bucks can be spent at Martin County businesses.

“It’s keeping business local. People can determine where they want to spend their money, but it will keep the money right here in Martin County,” Menne said.

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