We are in the middle of the Christmas shopping season. It is obvious, just drive by most any retail location and you can see a lot of shoppers. But how many of those shoppers are actually buyers? Many local retail businesses do 20 – 30 - 40 even 50% of their entire year's sales during the Christmas gift shopping time of year. They depend on sales to keep their doors open. Now, many of us have turned into local shoppers and on-line or out of town buyers. I saw a statistic that revealed that for every $100 spent in a locally owned business, that 45 dollars stays in the local economy. Local businesses employ an array of supporting services in their communities such as architects, accountants, insurance brokers and construction contractors to keep things running smoothly. It is the local economic engine that feeds itself and is actually its own stimulus. And while buying on-line can save a few dollars here and there, what is the real cost to our local economy? So it is an appropriate challenge for each of us to consider our local purchases an investment in our local economy – especially this time of year. It will make a difference no matter where you buy but buying local makes sense and makes for a Better East Texas.