All of us at the Islands’ Sounder, Journal of the San Juans and Islands’ Weekly wish you a joyous and safe holiday season. We hope you enjoy well-deserved time with loved ones and avoid the anxiety that the holidays can sometimes bring.
One way we have learned to shake the stress is to shop locally. After your fill this Thanksgiving, do your Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping on the island to take part in local deals. Skip a trip to the mainland for crowded parking lots and long lines, where often the money you think you save by leaving the island is lost on ferry and gas fees.
On islands that are known for its residents’ self-resilience and unique charm, shopping locally isn’t just a luxury but a way of life. This holiday season, avoid the temptation of online sales and support your friends and neighbors instead by purchasing exclusive, quality items that embody the local culture while helping the islands’ residents.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, about 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally. Each dollar spent at small businesses returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain and almost 50 times more than buying from a large online retailer like Amazon. That means the money you spend on the islands helps your neighbors secure items like the down payment on their first home; summer camp for their children; or the first class of their college career. Spending money locally also ensures that your favorite restaurants, stores and artists remain near your home to continue supplying the goods you crave.
In addition to shopping at local stores, there are opportunities to check out wares from island artisans. According to the San Juan Islands Arts Council, the islands have also been known to have double the art sales per capita of King County, which has approximately 2 million more residents than San Juan County.