Editorial: Shop locally

Take a look at The Beachcomber’s annual Gift Guide in this week’s paper — page 12, to be precise — and you’ll find that the admonition to shop locally is a timeless refrain. Thanks to research by Islander Mike Sudduth, The Beachcomber obtained a copy of a Nov. 18, 1937, editorial in the Vashon Island News-Record, a piece imploring its readers to keep their shopping dollars on Vashon.

“Why not do your early Christmas shopping RIGHT HERE WITH THE HOME MERCHANT — that same agreeable chap who cheerfully makes his donation of money or merchandise, and who patronizes every church and lodge supper or entertainment that is given on the Island?”

Except for the use of the word “chap” (many of our merchants are women these days), we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Vashon’s retail scene is a far cry from the faceless big box stores and shopping malls found elsewhere. Why? Because the shops are owned and operated by are our friends and neighbors, people who — as the 1937 editorial playfully noted — support our schools, our churches, our food drives, our clubs and our countless annual auctions.

These are tough times, and many Islanders will no doubt look for ways to save. But let’s hope our search for a bargain doesn’t take us off the Island all too often. We need our Island retailers to thrive, because their success and Vashon’s vibrancy as a community are inextricably intertwined.

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