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      Support your community by shopping local this holiday

      As Black Friday approaches, Americans will flock to the stores for the busy holiday shopping season.

      For local retailers, this is the time of year where every dollar counts; when many are determining whether they will end the year in the red or not. When heading out for holiday shopping, it's important to keep local businesses in mind, because spending your money locally goes a long way towards supporting your community.

      Money spent locally equals more sales tax dollars that go right back toward funding for infrastructure, schools and public departments in your town. It also helps with economic development and attracting more businesses to the area; which is a goal for Ottumwa.

      "We want those local businesses that are looking at opening up to know that there's a culture and an environment here that supports local business and local retailers, that's very, very important," said David Barajas, Executive Director of the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation. "It'll make it easier for them to want to invest their money in a community where they feel like the community is going to support their businesses, so that's important as we're trying to make improvements throughout the community."

      Barajas added that shopping local also brings a strong commitment to customer service, as the people that own and run the businesses are also part of the community.

      This Saturday, November 30, is designated as Small Business Saturday, so though it's important to support local retailers all year long, it's especially important to focus on shopping local this weekend.