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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Tis the season to spend it at home!

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Here we are again heading into the peak holiday retail season. Many retailers small and large are depending on these next few weeks to end the year on a positive note. For some, these next weeks will mean the difference between staying in business in the new year or hanging out the 'closed for business' sign.

As you make your shopping list, please do your part to support our small businesses and wherever possible keep it local. Small Business Saturday will be celebrated nationwide this weekend. It's essential to the fabric of our communities to support our small businesses any time of year but this time of year especially.

Here are some ideas to inject some small business support into your holiday shopping and festivities!

Shop somewhere new this season. I would bet there are many stores that you've never been to. Head downtown and discover all that's there. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Don't know what to give someone? Instead of purchasing a gift card from a large corporate chain store, remember that small local businesses offer them too. Your recipient will appreciate the extra thought you put into giving them a gift card from a cool local place rather than a cookie cutter retail chain. The business owner will benefit from the sale of the card and welcome a new customer or welcome back a regular who will more often than not spend more than the value of the gift card!

If you're planning to put on some wonderful holiday feasts, why not buy local? Shop at your local wine, beer and food stores. Maine is rich with great specialty foods that will add interest to any menu and make great gifts!

Decorate your casa with local greens, poinsettias and arrangements from your nearby florist and local garden center.

Take a friend to lunch or dinner to a local place as a holiday treat - perhaps somewhere you or they have never tried before!

Treat your 'out of state' family and friends with products made in Maine. My family loves it when I bring them great stuff from Maine! I score big time and feel good knowing I supported a Maine business.

It's easy to keep our shopping local if we just think about it. There's nothing wrong with shopping at the big boxes and national chain stores, but let's try to strike a balance.

This season is all about giving and giving back. The more we can give back to our small local businesses, the better off we all will be. Let's do our part to keep our holidays right here at home!


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