All of us at the Sounder, Journal of the San Juans and Islands’ Weekly hope your holiday celebrations are full of warmth and love. We just wrapped up Thanksgiving and now Christmas is on the very near horizon.
Last week we published our annual holiday special to share the many events and celebrations that you could enjoy from now until New Year’s Day. The guide was in your paper but it’s also been distributed throughout our communities. Take a moment to peruse it and see what our island home has to offer in the way of concerts, church events, giving back and shopping.
Which brings us to our main point: the importance of buying locally.
Two-thirds of the money you spend on island stays here. For most merchants, that money puts food on the table for their families and dresses their children in warm clothes. One hundred dollars spent on San Juan, Orcas or Lopez means a lot to those communities. That same $100 doesn’t have the same effect on the mainland.
Your friends and neighbors in their shops, stores and restaurants want to make your holidays merry, and they need your patronage to make the season bright for themselves, their employees and families. Islanders support local businesses because those businesses sell quality products at fair prices, and because islanders know that if they don’t buy locally, those businesses simply can’t continue.
The five or 10 percent you think you save by buying off island, instead goes toward ferry fares and fuel prices.
Plus, you get the unsavory seasonal experiences of crowded parking lots, empty shelves and long lines at the cash register when you trek off island to make your purchases.
Also, consider gift certificates. Everyone gets their hair cut. Many people love receiving a therapeutic massage. How about a membership to the health club or a fitness studio? An oil change? Dinner out at a restaurant or coffee from a local cafe? One week’s worth of cleaning services?
We understand there are some big ticket items that simply cannot be found on the island. But for everything else – and there is a lot – look for what you need right here. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the place you call home. Do yourself and your fellow islanders a favor: shop locally this winter. If you really want to take a ferry, take it to one of the other islands.