True both then and now | Editorial

The editorial below, originally published in 2009, still rings true for this holiday season.

Life on our islands was once described by a local writer as similar to living on a ship at sea. We are largely on our own out here in the northwesternmost county in the continental United States.

With that in mind, “shop local” takes on new meaning. Money we spend here stays here. It helps pay local wages, supports public services, puts food on island tables, pays rents, mortgages and insurance. And it funnels through to the many non-profits by the generous donations of local businesses.

Do your holiday shopping on the mainland, and your money stays on the mainland.

Shop local. It really makes a difference. That’s obvious in the budget cuts our local governments have been making. Those cuts have followed declines in sales and construction, and in tax revenues.

Shopping local makes sense in other ways too. First, you know who you’re buying from — someone you may have known for years — and often you’ll purchase an item that is made right here on the islands.

Second, local items are often unique and warm and, well, island-ish.

Clothing made from local alpaca fiber and sheep wool can be found in island stores. You’ll also find locally produced food products, as well as award-winning vintages from local wineries, in local stores. And if you’re looking for green items, the islands offer more than their share of eco-friendly goods.

These islands are a world-class destination, known for their natural beauty. Consider buying marine wildlife-related items at the Whale Museum in downtown Friday Harbor. Or a gift certificate for kayaking or other outdoor activities. A getaway for two at a local inn is a wonderful experience for a local or mainlander on your gift list.

And, of course, shopping on the islands includes all the cheer and lights and fun of the holiday events that accompany the season.

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