Editorial<br><br>Discover hidden treasures locally — ‘Shop Williams’

When was the last time you spent a few hours on a Saturday strolling throughout the community and visiting our local businesses? How many times have you driven or walked by a business that peaked your curiosity, but failed to stop because there was simply no time? Now is the time to make time to visit our local merchants.

You may be surprised to enter a local store you haven’t visited in quite some time to find new lines of merchandise right in Williams that you’ve been purchasing elsewhere. Imagine your surprise and delight to visit a new business and discover gifts you never realized existed. Envision yourself entering a business only to learn that the proprietor can create a custom-made gift from scratch unlike anything you could buy at the “big box” retailer in another city. All too often, we forget about the treasures offered right around the corner.

While we are grateful that Flagstaff is only 30 minutes away and offers some amenities we are unable to obtain locally, remember that doing business in Flagstaff — or in any other community — that can be completed in Williams, is lethal to our economy. Whenever we purchase items in another city, we support that community through the taxes we pay there. Whenever we spend money we have earned in Williams in another city, we are supporting their businesses, repairing their streets, creating opportunities for their municipalities to grow and supporting their schools — all through taxes we pay on every dollar we spend in their community. In the meantime, we are harming the economy of Williams by spending money elsewhere.

Throughout the year, our local merchants donate a huge amount of their time and services to local service clubs and organizations. They donate to local charities, offer merchandise as prizes during special events, sponsor our youth in many ways and provide employment opportunities. These merchants oftentimes are our coaches, neighbors, friends and our clergymen. By keeping the faith and owning a business here, they strive to make our community a better place in which to live. When we shop elsewhere, these businesses fail to prosper.

If you are shopping outside Williams because you believe more variety in merchandise and services are available in other communities, you may be incorrect in many instances. If a local retailer doesn’t have a product you want in stock, chances are that they are more than willing to order it for you. With today’s technology, many products can be obtained within a few days if not within 24 hours.

In addition to Christmas shopping, many other activities fill our calendars during the holidays. Attending church, school performances, community bazaars and holiday parties while preparing holiday meals can be overwhelming when combined with shopping. Lighten your load by shopping locally a few minutes daily — perhaps even during your lunch hour. Most of us consume too much food during the holiday season and complain about the weight we have gained. Instead, treat yourself to a light lunch and stroll through local shops. You will be pleasantly surprised when you realize how much of your shopping can be completed locally in such a short time span.

The spirit of Christmas is about spending quality time with the ones closest to our hearts. By shopping locally, you will gain more time to spend with your loved ones while supporting the community in which you live. “Shop Williams” — not just at Christmastime, but all year through. Happy holidays!

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