The occasion of last weekend’s Candlelight festivities in Downtown Frankfort reminded us again of the importance of shopping at home.

Despite the many reasons we hear from locals for shopping at points east and west, we remain an unapologetic advocate of our Frankfort retailers, especially those independently owned businesses that are the backbone of the local economy.

There are many good reasons to shop at home – both during the holidays and year-round.

Hometown merchants take a personal interest in their shoppers, because they know most of them. They see them at church, at sporting events, at social functions and all around town. They treat their customers like friends, not just another body with a fat wallet.

Supporting local merchants is good for our community. Their occupational and property taxes help pay for police and fire protection, street improvements and the like. When you buy locally, you also provide jobs for your friends and neighbors.

Plus, local merchants give back to the community. They are generous in their support of school and charitable fundraisers, Chamber of Commerce activities, youth sports, the arts and just about any other good project. We ought to pay them back with our shopping loyalty.

Being a small-town merchant is not an easy row to hoe these days. Besides the big-city malls, there is increasing competition from stay-at-home shopping, especially e-commerce behemoth Amazon. We get the convenience of sitting on the sofa and ordering with a few clicks on your smartphone, but the internet experience is impersonal and, frankly, just not as much fun as walking into a Frankfort shop.

As Candlelight again proved last week, shopping with Frankfort merchants, especially this time of year, is quite the social experience. If you don’t already know the shop owner, you probably will before you leave. And you’re likely to bump into a friend or neighbor while you’re out and about.

Small Business Saturday this weekend presents another opportunity to get out and shop locally. Strategically timed the day after the madness of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is a less stressful way to check off the gifts on this year’s list. 

Independence Bank and the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce will again team up Saturday for Local Love Shop Frankfort, a hometown celebration of Small Business Saturday. 

Starting at 9 a.m., shoppers are invited to Independence Bank's new signature location, Capital Square, at 450 Versailles Road, to pick up a shopping bag full of exclusive coupons and a list of participating businesses.

Friday's edition of The State Journal features a special wraparound section with gift ideas from Frankfort merchants. We hope you'll check it out and, more important, make some purchases of what you see.

If our hometown merchants were to dry up tomorrow, it would immeasurably lower the quality of life in this community. Let’s all do our part to help them prosper.

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