With the traditional Christmas shopping season, from Thanksgiving to the big day, shorter than usual this year, we expect to see many shoppers out and about already this weekend.

Yes, it's a good idea to get a jump on things. Panic might set in when all of us realize that there will be six fewer shopping days than normal after Black Friday. So expect crowded stores and parking lots -- at least that's what retailers hope for -- in the coming weeks.

Sticking with tradition, Rochester Downtown Alliance has declared Nov. 30 as the 10th annual Small Business Saturday. The idea is to encourage shoppers to start their holiday shopping at small local businesses, especially those located in downtown Rochester. 

Participating stores will offer deals, holiday treats and other specials to attract shoppers on that day.

We wholeheartedly support the concept. But we're going to get an early start by shopping at small local businesses this coming Saturday as well. If shopping local on one Saturday is good for the community, shopping local on multiple Saturdays has to be even better.

According to the Downtown Alliance, when you spend $100 at a local business, $68 of it stays in the community. By comparison, spend $100 at a national chain store, and $43 stays in the community.

Money spent at a local business recycles through other businesses, including suppliers, delivery services, and at other other shops, to the benefit of all of us. Those dollars also help create local jobs.

What's more, as Rochester Downtown Alliance points out, you can expect personal service at a small local business. Plus, many local shops carry items you can't find anywhere else in town.

The same is true at locally owned businesses throughout the region. Main Street retailers are known for their customer-friendly service and unique offerings. 

From our perspective, there's also something about strolling from store to store along a downtown street during the holiday season that creates a delightful holiday mood.

So, we'll be shopping local this holiday season, and we encourage you to do the same.

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