Business owners, employees encourage shopping locally

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PLYMOUTH — We are only about a week away from what is arguably the biggest shopping day of the year — Black Friday, followed closely by online shopping day Cyber Monday.
Before you make plans to brave long lines and cranky cashiers next Friday, however, consider doing some of your holiday shopping at handy locations near where you live and work. Local small businesses often carry items that will surprise you — and provide a welcome change from what you might find at a large shopping mall or corporate store.
“Compared to big box stores, we offer more personal quality of service,” said Brian VanDuyne, owner of Fernbaugh’s Jewelers in downtown Plymouth.
He added that Fernbaugh’s tries to stay connected to the community by giving to area non-profit organizations.
VanDuyne anticipates that diamond earrings and engagement rings will be the store’s top selling items this holiday season. No special hours are planned for the Black Friday rush, however.
“At Christmastime, our typical customer is male, and he doesn’t start thinking about Christmas until after Dec. 15,” explained VanDuyne.
Jennifer Emigh, who works at City Center News and Books, pointed out that shopping locally saves money on gas and puts funds back into the local economy.
“If you shop in town, the tax dollars stay in town as well,” added Emigh.
Visiting a bookstore such as City Center instead of a larger chain also gets you, according to Emigh, excellent customer service.
“If we don’t have what you need, we can get it for you within a few days,” said Emigh cheerily.
Jeff Jones, owner of Anco Office Products, is also concerned about online merchants that don’t collect sales
tax from customers. Taxes from local purchases are vital to the community, supporting local government and school systems. If you must buy online, said Jones, make sure you do it on a site that charges
local sales tax.
Bonnie Rock, owner of the new Rock On 109 Boutique downtown, said that when it comes to supporting local businesses, the littlest things can make a big difference.
“(Shopping locally) is important all year round, especially with the economy the way it is,” said Rock.
“People (need to) support local stores.”