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November 22, 2012

Shoppers boost Norman economy

NORMAN — Black Friday shopping is a young holiday tradition whose rise in popularity has made so ubiquitous as to perhaps rival the turkey itself as a Thanksgiving hallmark.

This year, Norman shoppers willing to brave the crowds and benefit from the deals will be benefitting the community which relies ever more heavily on healthy local commerce.

“Our citizens care about tax dollars generated in Norman,” said John Woods, Norman Chamber of Commerce member . “It’s not only important for local business and job creation but also for roads, parks, police force and other community benefits.”

Of particular concern for Woods and other Norman community members is the rise of online shopping and its negative impact on local commerce.

“Americans spent $816 million online in 2011, and that most concerning because those dollars leave the community and that drop hurts the community and its businesses,” Woods said.

A major incentive to forego the online browsing and shop local is the allure of the unique.

“All our merchandise is from Oklahoma artists, we carry lots of neat little things from coasters to jewelry and mugs in addition to t-shirts,” said Amber Pollock, co-manager of Massive Downtown, 301 E Main St. “We’ve nearly sold out of some great Oklahoma-themed accent pillows and will hopefully stock up on those and similar items for Black Friday. We have some awesome artists and hand-painted merchandise.”

What’s more, every dime of local sales benefits the community and its artists/craftsmen, and the gifting season is a great time for small businesses to gain awareness within the community.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in to browse but not buy anything, so hopefully with plenty of people knowing what we sell and out for gifts on Black Friday that’ll change,” Pollock said.

However, shoppers looking for those bigger items at chain stores are by no means exempt from aiding in filling community coffers.

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