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Remember to support your local retailers

Amazon’s annual profit-booster “Prime Day” kicked off Monday, with the company expecting more than $3 billion in sales. That’s with a “b”.

The sales event is reserved for Prime members only, and offers discounts and deals on more than a million products. It’s designed to make a Prime membership valuable to its customers. It’s also designed to make the company richer.

And while we would never begrudge a company for being successful, Amazon’s dominance in the retail market has come at the expense of smaller, locally-owned stores that support local communities.

Amazon is responsible for 44 percent of all U.S. e-commerce and 4 percent of the country’s total retail sales. It’s hard to comprehend just how dominant the company is.

But all the discounts and free shipping offers come at a cost to local communities. As more and more Americans turn to Amazon for everything from groceries to clothes to music to movies to books (yes, they still sell books), there is less cash hitting the registers of our local stores.

We only have so much disposable income, and if we keep sending more of it to Amazon, we have less left for our local retailers.

Shopping local is key for the continued success of Brookhaven and Lincoln County. But it takes some effort. Amazon has made online shopping so easy. Click a button and the product arrives two days later (if you are a Prime member). It’s simple, efficient and sometimes cheaper.

Choosing to shop locally might not be as easy. You will probably have to visit the store in person, talk to people and maybe even haul your purchase home yourself. But in return you get great customer service, the knowledge that you are helping your community and (usually) a better return policy. You also have the opportunity to see and touch the product you are buying. Local retailers can also offer advice on which product is a good fit for your needs. That advice is better than a million product reviews.

Local stores support this community. They hire local people. They purchase goods and services from other local businesses. They help make Brookhaven and Lincoln County a great place to live, work and play. Don’t forget them, no matter how good the deals are on Amazon.