According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “physical retail still commands nearly 90 percent of U.S. retail sales.”

The landscape of Southeastern U.S. cities is built around independently owned storefronts. According to a recent article by Marianne Wilson in Chain Store Age, “More than four in five consumers surveyed (81 percent) say they feel they are making a positive contribution to their community by shopping in a physical store.”

In city after city, the marquees of shops light up streets like jewels in a crown. A trip to Palm Beach would not be complete without a stop at Maus & Hoffman on Worth Avenue. New Orleans boasts the spacious mens store Rubenstein’s on Canal Steet, and the clothier Perlis in the French Quarter. Atlanta’s Ponce City Market has helped improve a historic neighborhood.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “physical retail still commands nearly 90 percent of U.S. retail sales.” This presence is seen all around us. Stretches of road that would otherwise ward off pedestrians welcome passers-by with awnings and plants. Above storefronts, upper levels house the workers or residents who shop there. In her book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,“ Jane Jacobs wrote, “Working places and commerce must be mingled right in with residences.”

Shareholders benefit, but stakeholders do as well. Employees, service providers and government coffers all thrive from the money being spent at local small-business stores. According to the National Retail Foundation, retail supports one in four American jobs.

So this holiday season, shop local to ensure that municipalities in Palm Beach County remain vibrant.

JOSH BARKIN, TORONTO, CANADA

Editor’s note: Barkin, a freelance writer, is a former associate editor of Hearst Magazines.



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