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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, November 2, 2001

Shop locally, and hope the favor is returned

"Shop till you drop."

"Buy local."

Never have shoppers felt so valued, so loved — so wanted. Sales, coupons, more sales and advertising messages abound. It's become our patriotic duty to spend money.

Now a hui of local businesses and government agencies have gotten together to tell shoppers and businesses to spend their money right here, not elsewhere. Buy at home, vacation at home, throw away those catalogues.

It makes good economic sense to support our local retailers, artisans, manufacturers and tourist industry. That has always been true. In fact, it has been quite obvious in retailing that Hawai'i shoppers like to buy locally. It's apparent from craft fairs to the largest of malls.

All that is being asked, really, is that when there is an extra dollar or two and it can be spent in the Islands, it should be. The money recirculates, jobs are protected and the state maintains its tax base.

It's a reasonable request, and there's no doubt local consumers will come through because people in Hawai'i have always helped each other through rough times. Buying locally made, locally grown, locally owned products and services makes particular good sense.

But even when we spend money in a store that is not locally owned and is selling goods imported from the Mainland, we help our neighbors whose jobs depend on those stores.

There is another point to be made, however. As we slowly rebuild economically, let's hope that this form of aloha is reciprocal. We all remember local businesses, from retailers to resorts, that got stars in their eyes when the visitor count was high and money was flowing freely. Local customers were sometimes given short shrift.

So, when the rough times are over, will they still appreciate us so?

They should. After all, we're all in this together. If local retailers are responsive to local shoppers, they'll get plenty of business. That's not a matter of patriotism — it is plain good sense.