WE SHOULD be proud of our resilient and dedicated local business community who serve our city so well.
So perhaps the time is right for us to remind that it is important for families to shop local as the youngsters of our city and county prepare to welcome Santa Claus.
There was a time when families here headed for the bright lights of Dublin or indeed to towns in our region on what were termed shopping expeditions for all the family, a day out for parents and children.
The outing was perhaps a noble one, family bonding time, the family that shops together etc, but in the overall scheme of things those who travelled were unwittingly weakening the foundations of their own community.
So instead of being a positive exercise, albeit no doubt at times enjoyable one, any journeys to elsewhere were not only negative for our local business but also provided unnecessary obstacles for the future of school leavers in our community who would hope to get employment in their home city.
There was perhaps a time when the lure of the lights in high profile shopping centres elsewhere were too much to ignore.
That is understandable but a little bit of homework should remind today that the sums won’t add up if we bring out business elsewhere this Yule.
The reality is that Kilkenny can now compete with the very bust and perhaps come out winners in any value for money competition.
We have top class shopping centres, a super collection of brilliant stores. Those who have been in business here for generations and those who have joined our local retail sector have given a vote of confidence to our city.
We always like to remind that life is a two-way street and the decent and honourable thing to do would be for us to reciprocate, not only because it makes sense and will be a boost to local business but because it will also help our greater community as the businesses that are part and parcel of our city are the same ones that support local good causes and offer a wide choice to customers.
Local business can be a very successful merry go round where the butcher buys from the baker and vice versa. This means that in a majority of cases, money that is spent in Kilkenny, stays in Kilkenny and is so often re-invested in our city.
Across the board, life can be tough for our people and our business community, as families struggle with what we might term the minefields of life, taxes, rates, mortages, property tax, a plethora of charges that lighten purses and leave thousands of families struggling to eke our an existence.
Businesses are faced with similar problems, including local rates which, in many cases, may be considerably higher next year because of a rate revaluation programme this year.
That may put many businesses under severe pressure in the early part of 2018 in particular as the harsh winter months of January, February and March in particular take their toll.
The latter is one of the many reasons why we should be loyal this Christmas and indeed at all times of the year. Together, as people and business, we can continue to enjoy a high profile as a city to visit and perhaps shop in.
United we can stand but should we decide to spend our Christmas savings elsewhere then we are weakening any vote of confidence that should be the cornerstone of our local business/customer relationship.
In a democratic society, our people are fully entitled to shop where they like. We would not dare to suggest that choice should be taken from our people.
But we make no apology for reminding, indeed asking people to give the thumbs up to our greater local community this Christmas by sticking to our tried and trusted local stores.
The choice is ours.
Hopefully we will make the right one.