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Buy Local on Black Friday

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Thornton Park, cityoforlando.net

The origin of the phrase “Black Friday” is twisty. Its first published use was in 1951, in a newspaper story about the mysterious illness that seemed to strike employees on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Once most employers caved in and began offering a four-day weekend, it naturally became a shopping bonanza – so much so that, in Philadelphia, traffic police began calling it … Black Friday. In the early ’60s, a Philadelphia paper picked up the term in their reporting of the annual shopping rush, and eventually it went national. But retailers didn’t like the negative connotations, so in the ’80s they concocted a story that Black Friday is so-called because it’s the day of the year when they get out of the red and start making profits.

Whatever the origin, and whether you’re hearing this pre- or post-Black Friday, the season of holiday shopping is officially on. And whether you need that gift bought and wrapped as early as December 14 or you have until January 1st, shopping local is probably on your list as a way to keep those dollars in the community. A widely quoted study says that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into the local tax base, as opposed to just $13 for every $100 spent at a chain store, which may be why “buy local” campaigns have doubled since 2005. There are plenty of local gift ideas in Orlando Weekly’s Holiday Guide. So drop those dollars at your local bookstore or boutique. It’s not a new idea, but it’s still a good one.

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