We all know that tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving, is Black Friday, a day when everybody is supposed to go Christmas shopping.

But another promotion is more germane to Alpine and it’s the following day, Small Business Saturday, when people are encouraged to shop small at local businesses right here at home.

Granted this promotion is by American Express and is backed by some of the biggest big box stores in the country.

But when we say small business in Alpine, we mean small business. It may be a mom-and-pop store with maybe one or two employees.

And those are the businesses we need to support in every way we can.

As we seek continued improvements in the downtown business climate in Alpine, one lesson has become abundantly clear. One of the biggest deterrents to achieving some of our goals has been internet shopping. People can sit at home and shop for just about anything their hearts desire.

That robs local businesses of the customers they need to survive. If you can’t sell your wares, you can’t stay in business.

I prefer to shop right here in town. It may cost a few bucks more than I would pay online or at a big-box store in a nearby city. But when you consider the cost of driving to the city or the freight for shipping the item you bought online, the cost differential begins to shrink, if it doesn’t completely go away.

Then factor in the convenience of walking into the store, saying you want one of those, paying for it and walking out with your new treasure. Compare that with the traffic and crowds of the big city or the seemingly endless wait and tracking your shipments.

And if you shop online, you have no way to touch and feel the item, see if it’s properly made and, if it’s clothing, to try it on for fit.

I bought some underwear online recently and had to choose between small, medium and large. I clicked large and they came about six sizes too small. And I am not that big. 

Years ago, before there was an internet, I bought some slacks by mail order and, when they arrived, they turned out to have been made out of something not much stouter than paper. If I had seen them in the store, no way would I have bought them. 

It makes shopping at hometown stores not only more convenient but way more pleasant. Isn’t that worth a buck or two?

True, you can sit in your pajamas at home sipping a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and click “place order,” then sit back and wait for the delivery.

But I still like to pick out what I need and take it home with me. Right now.

“Small Business Saturday is a major part of the holiday shopping tradition and has become a celebration of the local small business owners that we call friends, neighbors and family,” said Janey Whiteside, senior vice president and general manager of American Express OPEN.

So go out and shop till you drop Saturday – or any day – and let’s keep Alpine stores in business.

Jim Street covers Alpine and Brewster County for the Avalanche. He can be reached at 432-837-3334, reporter@alpineavalanche.com or at 118 N. 5th St.