By BILL RUSSELL
Black Friday is this Friday and Lake Norman area retailers are busy decorating and preparing for the Christmas Holiday Season. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally starts the season as consumers begin a mad scramble to catch the best deals of the year.
2013 saw consumers return to their favorite stores with renewed confidence that our economy was beginning to recover from the downturn which gripped our nation a few years ago. There is a renewed optimism among retailers that this will be a strong quarter to finish out 2014.
Still, it’s been a difficult year for some businesses, particularly those in Cornelius, severely challenged by ongoing construction from the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Exit 28. While a few businesses closed, most have been able to hold on – if barely – through the support of loyal customers and their outstanding personal service.
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
The weekend of Black Friday isn’t just for malls and big-box stores. Small businesses around the Lake Norman area will be having promotions and sales to encourage customers to shop locally this year. This will be the fifth year that small businesses around the nation have celebrated Small Business Saturday. Learn more at www.businesswire.com.
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce has nearly 1,000 business members from Charlotte to Troutman. While the Chamber cannot promote one business district or one community over another, we do recognize the hardship to Exit 28 businesses over the last few months.
The Chamber recently coordinated a meeting of more than 40 local merchants who exchanged ideas on how to best prepare for the upcoming holiday season (“Tired of negativity, Exit 28 businesses want to emphasize positives“). Perhaps the most significant was the desire on everyone’s part to stay positive and promote what is great about the community and region in which we all live and work.
This year as you decorate your home, hanging your stockings with care, think about supporting your local businesses before you order online or shop in another region. Do your part to help our local economy!
Keep in mind that a consumer advocacy study conducted by Civics Economics pointed out that spending $100 at one of our community’s independent businesses created $68 in additional economic activity. Consider making an impact in our community and the Lake Norman region which may result in your finding that perfect gift while putting a neighbor, friend, or family member to work in a local business!
The Christmas Holiday Season is a time for faith, family, and fellowship. It is a time of reflection on how fortunate we are and an opportunity to give back to those who need a helping hand.
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce encourages you to “Buy Local” and Shop Lake Norman. The job that you create – perhaps save – by shopping the lake region for gifts and services might just end up being your own!
Bill Russell is the president of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce