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Our opinion: Strengthening the local economy

Black Friday shopping is not what it used to be. It no longer is concentrated in one 24-hour period of purchasing mayhem, with millions of people across the United States staying awake all night or jumping out of their beds extra-early in hopes of being first in line at a favorite store.

Instead, references to Black Friday prices and product availability have been going on for at least a month, especially at some big-box retailers.

And anyone who has any interest in keeping track of what is happening on television and on the Internet has seen references to Black Friday and holiday shopping virtually ad nauseam in recent weeks.

It almost is as if the window to holiday shopping now opens with the first day of autumn and, in the process, has stripped Black Friday of what it traditionally has been about — not necessarily all good, it must be acknowledged, but a great day for shopping nonetheless.

There is one aspect of Black Friday — and the days that follow, leading up to Christmas — that will never lose its importance. It is the fact that holiday shopping is a make-or-break time for many retailers, including those in Warren County.

Whether some retailers still will be operating 12 months from now will depend on how strong their sales are during the next four weeks.

During those four weeks, they will be striving extra-hard to offer the best customer service possible, in contrast to the sometimes not-so-dedicated customer-service experiences available outside this area, especially in the big cities.

Sure, area shoppers have the right to be interested in what is available on the home-shopping channels and via the internet. However, they should not fail to keep in mind that getting — especially clothing — items that are just the right size and color is an important opportunity that exists here, close to home.

Shoppers who make their purchases here can go home with their holiday treasures in hand, without uncertainties about size, style and color and without uncertainty of whether what they have bought will arrive in time to get under the Christmas tree.

Then there is the issue of the ongoing existence of the brick-and-mortar stores that have played such a big part over the decades in keeping the Warren area alive and vibrant, supporting local causes and your favorite Little League team.

No one with any sense of dedication to this community relishes the thought of many of those stores having to “go away” because of having been ignored at holiday time.

An important fact to keep in mind is that most of the gifts available at stores outside of this area also are available here, to the shoppers who are willing to take the time to engage in the fun-filled “treasure hunts” that local retailers make available.

Enjoy today’s shopping here, and hopefully you will take a big bite out of your Christmas-buying list.

At the same time, you will have helped some local merchants ensure that they will be here to serve you throughout 2022.

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