As much as I want to support local businesses, especially downtown businesses (as I am a downtown business owner myself), sometimes I wonder if local businesses want to support me. Around 3:30, every downtown business I visited to buy a last-minute Christmas card was closed. Only a couple hours ago there were shoppers here carrying shopping bags, so there are people here ready to make those last minute purchases. Ironically, most of these closed businesses are displaying anti-Walmart signs, but guess what? Walmart is open right now this Christmas Eve, ready to meet my needs, whether it is something frivolous like a Christmas card or something important like a prescription drug. Here downtown, some local businesses took three days off for Thanksgiving, which last I checked was a one-day holiday. So I am finding myself leaving downtown for dining or shopping at chain businesses more than I ever expected. I guess I will join the highway traffic to visit a business I can rely upon this afternoon.
This post is more of an observation than a complaint. I am glad that we have business owners who aren't slaves to schedules and have the freedom to close whenever they want to. However, these extended vacations undermine my effort to make a habit of supporting local businesses. It is easier to support businesses with reliable schedules and make downtown a second, unscheduled stop.