Editorial: Still feeling appreciative? Thank a local business, too

This Christmas season make saying hello to your local businesses a personal goal. Not every single business in town, but the ones you most frequent and the ones you occasionally shop in to get that needed item or two.
Think it’s a short list; that there aren’t that many local businesses to visit?
Think again.
It’s the hardware store, lumber yard, pet supply and yard and garden store. It’s the grocery, bakery, lunch spot, coffee or tea house that you visit every week – or, for some, almost every day of the year. It’s a favorite sandwich shop, restaurant or bar. And it’s where you enjoy the arts — the movie theater, galleries, museums, opera house or town hall theaters.
It’s your local pharmacy, your doctor, your barber or hairdresser, and where you go to get a massage, acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy or any other treatment or activity that helps keeps your body in line and in sync.
It’s the business that helps keep you fit — your local fitness club, community health center, tennis club, or, in winter, the Rikert Nordic Center and Middlebury College Snow Bowl. It’s your favorite outdoor sporting goods store.
And it’s your local retailer, whether that has to do with clothing, sports, communications, kitchen or home, flowers and gifts, cards and crafts, books, picture frames, music or computer games. 
If you took a moment to think of all the local places you visit and use throughout the year, you’d be grateful for their presence and more appreciative of them.  It wouldn’t hurt, then, to simply say thanks.
But what would really help is to stop in and remember what it is they have to offer. Make a point of adding them to your shopping list and, at the very least, looking through their wares before you buy out of town or online.
We all know that our local stores are a vital part of our community; but we don’t always pay them the personal visits we should. Do it now. They will be genuinely happy you did, and so will you.

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