Most of us are probably in the process of buying gifts for the upcoming holidays in our families. As you make your purchase decisions, I would ask you to strongly consider supporting local, independent businesses in your area. (As paddlers, you probably have spent some money in at least one of these small, local paddle sport stores.)
These businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors in the community. They live and pay taxes right along with you. When the local little league needs a sponsor, it’s most likely one of these small businesses that kicks in the donation, not “Mall-Wart”. A significantly higher amount of the money you spend stays circulating within your community stimulating the local economy and supporting local jobs (something that is sorely needed given the report of higher unemployment out today). When you need something “right now”, you want these local stores to be there, carrying that important item that you just have to have today. On-line shopping may appear cheaper, but not when you have to pay for express, one-day shipping. If you don’t take the time to support these local businesses throughout the year, they may not be there when you need them.
This Sunday, December 5th, from noon to 4pm, there is a special gift fair being held at the Lakefront Palm Garden on Commerce Street in Milwaukee. The admission is free and there will be lots of very special gifts available that you probably can’t find at the big chain stores. Giving something that is locally made, perhaps one-of-a-kind, or just uniquely Milwaukee can show how much you care and think about the person you are giving the gift to. “Give Local, Buy Local“ has a Facebook page with more information. The event is being sponsored by Our Milwaukee and Outpost Natural Foods. If you have some free time on Sunday, I would encourage you to take the time to go down and shop at the fair.
If you are busy on Sunday, but still need some gifts for family and friends, you can always support my local business by giving SherriKayaks gift certificates for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever. (Sorry for the shameless self-promotional plug, but I have to make a living, too!)
And just keep in mind when Aunt Esmerelda gives you that hideous hand-knit vest she made from avocado green yarn, it’s the thought that counts. (Serenity now!)