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Bravo, if you shopped locally Saturday

If you shopped at a locally owned business on Saturday, good for you.

You helped your neighbor, your daughter’s sports team and possibly made a difference in someone’s Christmas.

Every penny you spend locally adds up.

Saturday was Shop Local Day or Small Business Saturday started by American Express in 2010 in response to Black Friday by the big box stores and Cyber Monday by the internet businesses.

As a small business ourselves, the Times News salutes local businesses. They are our advertisers and we need them to thrive so we can deliver the news to you all year long.

It’s a shame though that we even have to have a special day. All year long we need to remember the people who give us special treatment, pour money into the local economy and pay taxes.

All of us share the responsibility of keeping our neighborhood stores in business. We need them, not only for all of their contributions to the community but for the service they provide.

Did you know that many of the items you buy can be found from locally-owned stores? Add to that better service, better quality, follow up service and in some cases free delivery.

For example, Hager’s in Palmerton has quality lift recliners for the same basic price as online mobility companies.

So by going to a locally owned store you get to try out the chair and order what works for you - or even order a custom model - at the same price as an online company. But you get to try the chair you are ordering before you make that expensive purchase.

The store also throws in free delivery by trusted people and that means it will be set up where you want it in your home. In this case the online store would have delivered the chair in pieces and dump it hopefully on your porch. Some companies will only guarantee it will be at the end of your driveway.

Unless you paid the extra $250 for white glove treatment, you would have to drag it in and put it together yourself.

We’re also fortunate to have several local outdoor and bike shops, who know the equipment and strive to make safety their priority.

How do local businesses help us in other ways?

For years, Rentschler is one business that has sponsored local sports teams. If you think it’s expensive for your child to play now, imagine what the cost would be without a sponsor.

Mulligan’s Toy Store in Jim Thorpe had a fundraiser for the Dimmick Memorial Library this weekend.

Zimmerman’s Dairy is constantly donating iced tea and lemonade to community organizations. If it’s a local nonprofit, Tom Zimmerman is there. And it’s not because he needs the name recognition.

The list goes on of businesses vested in their community.

Who will help with a last-minute order? Only a local business can do that.

Denise Sebelin, owner of Deezine’s Flowers and Gifts in Jim Thorpe has a story a day about helping customers.

How about the wedding happening in 15 minutes? In October one of the local guesthouses called for a bunch of purple and white flowers. Then he called back in a panic and said he didn’t realize his guests were getting married. He needed a bouquet and a table arrangement ... now.

Sebelin promptly filled the order with a bouquet fit for a princess.

Every local business has a similar story.

One friend says he values small businesses because, “The person on the other side of the counter that you know, and knows you, by name without a name tag. A friendly smile and a genuine ‘How’s the family?’?”

How about better quality, knowledge of the products they are selling, giving help outside of normal business hours, tailoring service to your needs and follow-up?

These are all qualities we value.

Kathy Henderson, director of the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corporation, posted earlier this week that big companies won’t notice your purchases over the next couple of months, but small business will and it might even change their lives.

And if these businesses were gone, we would quickly find that something is truly missing from our lives.

Marta Gouger is editor at the Times News and can be reached at mgouger@tnonline.com