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Shelter Island Reporter editorial: Keep the cash here

Family-run businesses are the backbone of the Shelter Island economy. And these businesses — some new, some decades old — are a large part of what makes the Island such a unique place to live, work and visit.

Small-business owners also serve as de facto community leaders. They sit on boards of local nonprofits as well as Town-appointed boards. They run for office. Above all, they get involved.

Their names, or those of their businesses, appear at Island events such as the annual Shelter Island 5K breast cancer awareness event or last weekend’s joyous Turkey Plunge, just to name two of many.

These businesses’ names are found on every program and pamphlet of every charitable event throughout the year. When a local family faces a tragic circumstance, local business owners are usually the first to open their hearts and, most importantly, their wallets. These are hard-working men and women of vision who truly help our Island flourish.

But they need your support.

In the pages of this newspaper and on our website, you’ll find dozens of ads from area businesses, some funny, some pretty, some just informative. They make it possible for our editorial staff to bring you news and information day and night and to keep the community informed and engaged.

Even if you are the most dedicated of newshounds, please take time also to notice what your friends and neighbors are offering through their print and online ads.

What you’ll find is a wide range of products and services no big-box store or mall could ever match.

What you won’t find is midnight madness, fights over doorbuster sales or, with some necessary exceptions, Thanksgiving or Christmas hours.

And that’s heartening in an age of hair-on-fire pressure to shop as if we’re engaged in a military campaign.

We at the Reporter are challenging all our readers this holiday season to visit Island stores and shops and pick up at least one gift from a small-business owner.

It’s easy. The Island merchants can provide for everyone on your list, and for those who have all gifts covered, there are still stocking stuffers and that one extra gift for someone special.

Buy local this holiday season, and keep the Island thriving.