Editorial: Black Friday with local color

With all the hoopla about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday could get lost in the shuffle.

But this year, more than ever, at a time when our community is struggling for its very survival in a persistently bad economy, it’s critical to spend as much of your holiday budget as possible at North Fork businesses. Government statistics indicate that 60 percent of every dollar spent locally stays in the community.

Sure, Small Business Saturday was created by a very big business, American Express, which launched the drive two years ago and continues to offer a $25 credit to cardholders who register their cards to shop locally. Facebook, Google, Twitter and even FedEx have also been offering incentives to both customers and store owners.

At the heart of the drive is the desire to provide vital support for shop owners during a make-or-break season. Healthy holiday sales can make the difference between successfully weathering the winter or pulling the shades and locking the door for good.

Like all of us, small retailers are struggling to pay higher overhead costs, such as fuel oil and electricity. And while some landlords have reduced rents, thinking it’s better to get some income than have a space vacant, others continue to exact high rental fees.

If you’ve shopped locally, you know there are many retail opportunities unique to the North Fork that contribute to making this a special community. If you want to retain another piece of what’s special about this area and don’t want the North Fork to become Anywhere, USA, make a special effort to spend your dollars right here.

And that shouldn’t be for the holiday season only. Make it a habit that carries on throughout the year. It’s a simple choice, really. We all thrive together or sink together.

What’s it going to be?