We were as disappointed as most people when we found out the large building in the heart of Jasper is going to be a Dollar Tree. We envisioned so many other uses that could have made that space unique and added more character and charm to our town. The building has been empty for so long that we’re certain a little forward thinking by city leaders a few years ago could have helped shift its trajectory, but we agree with Jasper’s Downtown Development Authority that it’s better to have a business there than have a big vacant building.
We want people to shop local and support our locally-owned businesses first and foremost, but even shopping at a corporate store in town is better for the community than shopping online or in another county. If you do shop at the Dollar Tree when it opens, that purchase will put money in local coffers by way of sales tax that fund SPLOST projects like road paving, to purchasing new fire and police equipment, to fun projects like parks and the upcoming amphitheater on Main Street. Those funds will support our schools and so many other local needs.
As the holiday season descends upon us each year we feel a civic duty to encourage people to spend as many of their shopping dollars in town as possible — and again locally-owned is best. When you spend your money with a locally-owned business so much more of it stays in Pickens County. Local business owners spend their money in town and with local vendors; support the community through sponsorships and other donations; and they care about Pickens County like chains don’t.
According to the Business Journal Daily, “Small businesses generate $68 of local economic return for every $100 spent with them.”
Unique products and shopping experiences are also what help create the character and tapestry of each community. Without local businesses we’d be a sea of boring chain stores you could find anywhere.
We realize some things you just can’t get in Pickens County (for example the selection of men’s clothing has something to be desired), but if we are willing to think outside the box a little and give gifts that come from local stores it goes a long way in supporting our community, helping it thrive, and creating a snowball effect that will attract other one-of-a-kind locally-owned businesses.
Pickens doesn’t have it all, but we have stores where you can find clothing and accessories, furniture, antiques, tools, tack and farm needs, home décor and goods, jewelry, homesteading, health gifts, classes, restaurants, coffee and ice cream shops, and more — and most everyone has gift cards. The Jasper Farmer’s Market will run for four more weeks and offers a great spot for unique gifts.
This holiday season between Nov. 11 and Dec. 12 the Pickens Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “Hometown Holidays Shop Local Event” where you can win one of three $100 Visa gift cards. Just spend $25 in Pickens County between those dates and drop the receipts off at the Chamber or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon, Monday, Dec. 11. The drawing will be held Dec. 12 at the Chamber breakfast.
We know it’s convenient to shop online, and we do it to, but please this holiday season make a pledge to spend as much as you can locally.