Shop local this holiday

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Talk to local shoppers and merchants, and all seem to be very excited about how things are going this holiday season thus far.

Several Western Tidewater merchants said they experienced a healthy Black Friday shopping weekend. Some like Carlton Cutchin, owner of Franklin‘s Ace Hardware, said his sales were up roughly 9 percent over last year, which is on par with what shoppers are spending this year compared to 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. Most Ace Hardware holiday shoppers are going for Carhartt; the store is known as Virginia’s biggest dealer in the sturdy clothing line.

We also heard Walmart was an absolute madhouse late Thursday night and into early Friday morning. There were more people scrambling for the deals on laptops, iPods and DVDs than some folks had ever experienced at the Armory Drive store on the biggest shopping day of the year.

This tells us the economy must be rebounding some after losing its biggest employer 18 months ago. With the closing of International Paper, 1,100 jobs were lost and uncertain times were inflicted upon many families.

But many have come back. Many have found jobs and gone back to school, which has led to new careers.

So let’s keep the economy rolling in Western Tidewater. Shop local this holiday season. You will feel better for doing so.