Editorial: Investment Shopping

It wasn’t all that long ago that members of the Loudoun Chamber gathered in a Dulles hotel meeting room to hear a presentation from one of the pioneers working to figure out what traffic will fill the nascent “information superhighway.”

At that point, Steve Case’s company, Aol, was still mailing out millions of CDs in hopes that residents would run phone lines to their computers and dial in to the internet. During that session, he told the county’s business leaders that someday soon folks would do their shopping with the press of a keyboard button. A startup company in Seattle was betting on that, too. Today, online shopping and services like Amazon are omnipresent.

It is at this time of year when online shopping records are set. But the convenience of mouse-to-mailbox purchases comes at a cost closer to home.

The vibrancy of Main Street brick-and-mortar retailers is a barometer of economic health in any community. When hometown stores can’t keep their doors open, more is lost than just another shopping venue. Also gone are jobs and tax revenues needed to fund the schools and other vital public services.

Promotions like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday can help area businesses, but it should not only be on those two days that they warrant attention. Rather, they should be at the top of the list whenever it comes time to search for that special gift or gizmo.

There may be those among us who would prefer to avoid driving to a store, standing in lines or dealing with cashiers, but far worse is not having the opportunity to do so. That is why shopping local is important. That sweater bought at a local dress shop is not just a purchase, it is an investment in your neighborhood.

One thought on “Editorial: Investment Shopping

  • 2016-11-26 at 7:53 am

    Loudoun Now, are you serious? Are you suggesting we discard capitalism for some kind of charitable economy? We now have electronic tax filing systems for both federal/state income taxes and the local property taxes. I guess we should have demanded that these payments be made by paper or in person so those folks could have kept their jobs.

    I guess the same goes for ATMs because now we have fewer human-staffed bank tellers.

    You actually suggest we all should waste time standing in lines because….. that may benefit a few noncompetitive stores.

    Did you even begin to think this through? If a business provides a service or product people want, they will be successful. There are more salons, restaurants and home contractors than you can shake a stick at around here. If a business is not as efficient in providing a service or product, they will not be successful. It is a good thing we have large grocery stores with wide varieties of food as opposed to limited selections at the local convenience store. It is a good thing that we can use PayPal instead of paying large fees to wire money via Western Union.

    On second thought, nobody minds if you keep shopping to keep inefficient stores in business. But let us decide for ourselves.

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