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Shopping locally benefits everyone

Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Daniel Cocks of ArtWorks in Connellsville works on getting his shop ready for the holidays.

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Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 5:56 p.m.

Ready or not, the holiday shopping season has begun.

Many large retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening. Black Friday kicks off in a matter of hours. But another special shopping day, Small Business Saturday, gets under way on Saturday to support and celebrate small businesses and all they do for their communities.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” said Daniel Cocks, Artworks Connellsville owner. Cocks noted that these businesses offer support to the families and organizations in the communities in which they are located.

“We're the ones that, when something goes wrong, we're the first to help out,” he said. “We're the first ones to either grab a shovel or grab a checkbook, but we are there.”

Many of the area's small businesses will be offering specials and sales to promote interest.

“We are doing customer appreciation, and we will be handing out coupon calendars,” said Marty Savanick, owner of Collections by Marty in Scottdale and Donegal. “They will be for the 12 days of Christmas and can be used at both locations.”

Savanick added that the holiday shopping season is well under way.

“People have been shopping now for the past few weeks,” she said.

The Old General Store, located in the Crossroads Plaza, Mt. Pleasant, with a second location in Donegal, is prepared for the onslaught of holiday shoppers.

“We will be having sales and specials both days,” owner Jeff Gales said. “We will also be having a ‘Made in the USA' sale in mid-December.”

While shoppers may opt for the convenience of a mall or a big-box store, the offering from small businesses are many times unique and even distinct to the area.

“We have a lot of items on Connellsville here,” Cocks said. “There are also many things here that you can't find anywhere else.”

ArtWorks features artwork and handmade items from numerous area artists, so shopping there is actually supporting many small businesses.

“Shopping at ArtWorks is like patronizing 85 of your friends and family,” Cocks said.

Others benefits of shopping at local small businesses are that the money is kept local and local businesses employ people from the area.

“If you shop local, then you keep the business here, and a large percentage then goes toward your community,” Savanick said. “You also want to remember that keeping your downtown businesses healthy also helps to make your property values better.”

It can also be a show of pride in the community.

“I am starting to hear more and more that people are making an effort to do most of their shopping local,” Savanick said. “It can really make an effect on everyone. Shopping local is something that can keep your community going.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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