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By Jaimie Schmitz
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is anticipated throughout the year, but the day after Thanksgiving is also highly anticipated.
Although some people wait hours in long lines for big chain stores, local business owners are reminding shoppers that buying locally can not only get you those good deals but it can also help the community.
Greg Ptacek, Neligh Economic Development Director, has seen many new retail establishments that are bringing in more business.
“Small businesses are the backbone to our economy,” Ptacek explained. “Any small town economy and especially Neligh with having 160 businesses in Neligh, the majority of those are small town businesses.”
But in small towns, shopping locally doesn’t just help that one business; it helps the whole community.
“Those profits rather than going to a big box store, go back into the community because that owner will then invest those with organizations like the FBLA, with the school, with churches,” Ptacek said. “And they are just more apt to be more philanthropic with those dollars than say a big box store that might give say five percent of their earnings. That small business owner is going to give a larger percent of that back to the community.”
This will be the fourth year of Merry Monday, which is a day of sales sponsored by the Neligh Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve got just shy of 20 businesses that are involved in our Merry Monday sale,” Ptacek said. “And we just wanted to truly show that there was more savings here in Neligh, rather than just two or three businesses having sales together, having almost 20 businesses together having sales would hopefully draw in more people from not only Neligh to come down to downtown but throughout all of Antelope County to really hit up Neligh for a good sale.”
Jeri Anderson has owned quite a few different Neligh businesses over the years, and knows first hand about what Black Friday is like for small towns.
“I used to have a sale on Black Friday, and it just didn’t pay to have a sale because everybody to the big cities for Black Friday,” Anderson explained. “So we do it on a different day.”
Along with the money going back into the community, Anderson said there is another major perk with shopping in small towns.
“I wouldn’t want to fight the crowds,” Anderson said. “And you don’t fight the crowds in small towns.”
Small towns and businesses are known for their hospitality and that everyone knows everyone. Anderson said that knowing everyone, as a business owner, is a good thing.
“You know if someone comes in, you’re not leery to take a check. They say ‘Do you want my drivers license?’ I’m like ‘No, I know where to find you, you live over there,’ ” Anderson said laughing. “You know, you pretty much know where everyone is.”