To make your downtown better, shop there

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When businesses operate with comfortable profit margins and have the breathing room to look beyond simply making ends meet, they can give back to the community by sponsoring Little League teams, joining chambers of commerce, taking part in fairs and festivals and donating time and services to local schools.

The last thing we want on Long Island’s main streets and as symbols of our downtowns are abandoned storefronts and vacant offices — but that threat is all too real if we don’t support the businesses that are in place now. Your hard-earned money can and should be directed to the businesses that can help bolster the economy and livelihood of the community you live in.

If you plan on doing some shopping this weekend, stop for a moment and picture being elbow to elbow at a noisy big-box store, wading through crowds of people who are short on holiday spirit, trying to find a sales person to answer a question or help you find something in your size, and then waiting in an endless line to pay for it. Then make a smart decision, walk down the street, walk into a local shop and do the kind of friendly, stress-free shopping that will benefit both you and the hardworking businesses owners in your communities.

On Saturday, shop local, and then eat out at a local restaurant. The money you spend in your downtown will pay dividends for you and all of your fellow residents.

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