Keep shopping local

The hustle and bustle of holiday gift shopping is past, but some of the best sales of the season have just begun. Area residents should remember, though to support local businesses by shopping close to home, rather than just searching for cyber sales.

Many of the same small stores and specialty shops that appealed to nearby residents with Small Business Saturday sales after Thanksgiving still have plenty of merchandise to choose from. If you’re looking for the perfect accessory for the new outfit you received for Christmas, try some of the boutiques located in Barnesville or downtown St. Clairsville, or in the Centre Market section of Wheeling, or even at The Highlands.

If you’re the handyman type and received a new toolbox as a holiday gift, check some of the area Do It Best stores or shops such as Kennedy’s Hardware in Wheeling as you seek out the tools to fill it up. Folks looking to dress up their homes to fill the void left behind when holiday decorations come down can also visit the many craft shops and home decor stores located in cities and villages such as Powhatan Point and Bellaire.

And as you begin the hunt for something sparkly for your Valentine (that holiday is only a month and a half away), try locally owned stores such as Z’s Jewelry in Martins Ferry.

Supporting small businesses that operate under local ownership is a good idea, simply because it is a good way to support the overall economy. Small business owners fill unique niches, and they provide employment for more people than you may realize. They also attract vehicle and foot traffic to areas where shoppers can visit other businesses, such as restaurants, bakeries, tax preparers, insurance agents and others all in a single outing.

But keeping your business local doesn’t mean you have to avoid the bigger chain stores, either. By spending time and money at the Ohio Valley Mall or Ohio Valley Plaza, you are still supporting the brick and mortar stores that draw visitors to our region, provide jobs for area residents and help to keep our local economy healthy.

So, as you hunt for post-holiday bargains, remember that businesses right here in Eastern Ohio will be happy to serve you – and you will be doing a service to the community by patronizing them.