Shop locally to make a difference in Selma

Published 2:25 pm Saturday, November 1, 2014

Being in Selma just a month and a resident for all of a week, I’m still learning my way around town. Every day it seems, I visit a new business, school or church.

Walking up and down Broad Street during Friday’s Monster March, I noticed a downtown restaurant I had never previously paid any attention to.

While there are some vacant buildings, Selma is fortunate to have an active downtown, especially when compared to other Black Belt communities.

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Look at neighboring counties, and it’s not common to be able to go downtown and have multiple options for dinning, shopping and even accommodations like the St. James Hotel.

It’s something we don’t need to take for granted.

With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s more important than ever to remind your friends and family the importance of shopping locally.

The Retail Merchants Association has some great reminders as part of its Think.Buy.Shop local campaign:

4 Shopping local creates jobs — simple idea that shopping close to home creates local employment.

4 Local businesses invest more in our communities. Ask any parent of a child who has ever participate in a school fundraiser, and they will tell you this. Local businesses also support nonprofits like the United Way and sponsor events like Relay For Life.

4 Shopping locally saves you time and money. Driving to Montgomery or Birmingham costs fuel and at least a couple of hours. You might also be surprised about the good deals you can find at home too.

4 Shopping locally retains our sense of community and distinctiveness. Nobody likes boarded up storefronts. People don’t always equate how they spend their money with the impact it has on the community. There are many businesses unique to Selma that could never be replaced if they were lost.

Finally, shopping locally supports services everyone benefits from. Every purchase helps fund local police and fire departments, educate children, pave streets and improve infrastructure.

Several downtown Selma businesses are coming together Monday for a Preview Party ahead of Black Friday and Christmas. The stores are staying open late Nov. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Participating stores are Carter Drugs, Allez-oup, Welle Studio, Teja’s Accessories Boutique, Butler Truax Jewelers, El Ranchero and The Lilly Pad on Broad Street.

Several other businesses will set up inside Butler Truax, including Mark’s Mart, The Vineyard, Rountree Outdoors and Ev Marie’s Cupcakery.

The businesses will offer discounts, refreshments and prizes to help put people in the Christmas spirit.