Special days for shoppers, merchants

Black Friday began early this morning, or perhaps late Thursday at some retailers. Black Friday is considered the biggest shopping day of the year, as customers gorged on Thanksgiving turkey go in search of Christmas-present bargains.

We hope today and the entire holdiay season prove to be prosperous for area merchants, many of whom depend on these four weeks to help ensure their financial stability for the year. A successful Christmas retail season is important, not just for the merchants, but for the community, in terms of sales taxes collected and as a sign of consumer confidence in the economy.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Black Friday 2011, and the subsequent weekend, are expected be bigger than ever. Retail sales today are projected to be up 1.6 percent nationwide from last year, which was a better year than many had anticipated. Moreover, some 152 million people — fully half of the nation’s population — are expected to be shopping this weekend, the Journal said. That’s a 10 percent increase from last year.

Black Friday is the big day, but it no longer stands alone as an individually named day during the Christmas buying season.

There is Small Business Saturday tomorrow, when consumers are encouraged to buy from small, local businesses.

We support buying locally. Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. But we certainly don’t endorse the planned action of the Occupy Grand Junction movement, to gather at Mesa Mall and protest people buying products from large, national chain stores.

As Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schweke noted in The Daily Sentinel this week, those national stores employ large numbers of local workers, especially during the holidays. They also contribute substantial amounts to the local tax base and many donate to area nonprofits.

Regardless of the size of the business, when online sales are projected to increase 15 percent this year nationwide, it makes sense to encourage people to buy from businesses that pay local taxes and employ local people.

Small Business Saturday is followed by Sunday, then something called Cyber Monday. That’s when consumers are encouraged to purchase computer and electronic devices. However, exactly how many iPads and Xboxes will remain on store shelves Monday remains to be seen.

After Cyber Monday, we arrive at Green Tuesday, a day one national conservation group has designated as a day to purchase only environmentally friendly products, preferably from that group’s website. You can buy green products elsewhere, of course, from gardening tools to solar panels. It would be a great day to visit your favorite bicycle store.

Whatever the color of your holiday shopping experiences, we hope it proves satisfying, for both merchants and customers alike.


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