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Pioneer Editorial: Gearing up for growing the economy

All rested from turkey and football? Good, now it's time to start shopping!

Today is know in the retail vernacular as Black Friday, the traditional kickoff for the holiday shopping season.

Even without worries of the lingering recession, the time between now and Christmas is always crucial for many retailers, some of whom make a fifth to a third of their net profit for the year.

It will be especially key this year as holiday shopping could be an indicator of whether we're out of the recession or not. Prognosticators are predicting more shoppers this season than in four years, a sales event that could boost the many small businesses in the retail trade out of recession mode. Many are awaiting today with crossed fingers.

Even though unemployment remains high and stretching the dollar is tough for the jobless, retailers still expect to see growth in sales of 2.3 percent to 3.5 percent over last year, a good harbinger of growth and the advent of hiring more workers.

It would be nice for the Bemidji area retail trade to see that kind of growth and better, especially if members of the community continue to shop local, patronizing our many specialty shops and small businesses. It seems easy to drive to Grand Forks or Fargo, but maintaining a vibrant local economy is also important to the growth of our community.

We also recognize that our shops and stores, plus the Big Box retailers, are a regional draw to our community. We welcome them and encourage them to spend part of their holiday season enjoying what we have to offer.

There's also a selfish reason. Patronizing shops within the city will add sales tax revenue to city coffers for, first, improving city parks and trails and, second, paying off the Bemidji Regional Event Center, which in itself will be a regional draw for folks.

Come January, local merchants will have a good idea whether the recession continues locally or not. Doing our business locally as much as we can will help feed the local economy, hopefully providing more jobs.