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Author: Travis Silvas

Small Business Saturday the perfect time to ‘Shop Local’

Several local businesses are taking part in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30, enticing customers with tremendous deals right here in their hometown. There may be no better time to “Shop Local.” Shop local is a movement that is gaining momentum across the country. A slow economy has forced all of us to slow down and reassess how and where we spend our money. What most people are finding, and several research sources back this up, is that it pays more to shop locally. According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), independent, locally-owned businesses are essential to a vital local economy and community character. Spending money in locally-owned businesses means your money stays in the community. That’s not always the case when shopping at large national chains. You may save a little money in the short term, however, your community may suffer the long-term effects. Shopping locally means keeping money circulating in our local economy. For example, according to the 3/50 project, founded by retail consultant and professional speaker Cinda Baxter, for every $100 spent at an independently owned, local business, $68 is returned to the community in the form of taxes and payroll and other expenditures as compared with only $43 at nationally owned chain and $0 if shopping online…unless you’re shopping a local business online. Shopping locally helps keep business going in a community and a...

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Volunteers pack nearly 200 holiday packages to send troops overseas

Many hands make light work. More than 30 volunteers made sure of that Saturday, Nov. 23 as they packed 197 boxes to send to troops serving overseas as part of the holiday efforts of Support the Troops Without Boundaries. Each box was filled with homemade and store bought treats, hygiene items, socks, wool hats, fan mail from Charlotte Public Schools students and St. Mary School students. Support the Troops Without Boundaries founder, Mike Smith said the boxes provide a small piece of home for troops who are away from the families around the holidays. “Receiving these brings the spirit...

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Santa Claus is coming to town … your town

As usual, Santa Claus is getting a head start on his holiday duties this year. The jolly old elf has already made stops in Dimondale and Charlotte and has no plans to leave the Eaton County area any time soon. One of the best aspects of living in a small community is the togetherness that felt this time of year. People really come together around the holidays, especially when Santa Claus comes to town. Santa is going to be really busy in the next month making appearances in communities and shops throughout the area. Santa Claus’s next stop will be at the Vermontville Township Library on Friday, Dec. 6 to have his picture taken with all the children in the community. The Vermontville Library has set up that special appearance, which will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and feature plenty of family friendly activities. You will find Santa Claus in downtown Olivet on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 7 p.m. Santa’s visit is sponsored by the Olivet Chamber of Commerce and the Olivet Fire Department. The Chamber of Commerce is also encouraging residents and business owners to get in the holiday spirit this year by decorating your home or business. The Holiday Lights for Holiday Nights decorating contest will take place in Olivet throughout December. Decorations must be up by Monday, Dec. 16 and three winners...

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Empty Canvas a hit at Education Foundation’s inaugural Art Appreciation event

One by one Mike McMath pulled people from the crowd to help him fill his empty canvas with paint. Slowly, with the participation of those attending the Charlotte Public Schools Education Foundation’s inaugural Art Appreciation & Sale event, the scene began to take shape. McMath filled in the holes, all while singing along with his brother, Matt McMath, who was strumming away on the guitar. In the end, the duo that makes up Empty Canvas had created a beautiful landscape while entertaining the crowd. The piece of artwork was the first piece auctioned off during the live auction portion...

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Community support vital to success of Potterville’s Holiday Gift Baskets

Jo Lehman still thinks about the family of five or six huddled around the space heater one year as she delivered a holiday basket to the unsuspecting family just outside Potterville. Instead of running to see the new toys, the children ran to a couple blankets Lehman had decided to add to the basket at the last minute. “I walked out of there just a mess,” Lehman said. “It just broke my heart. We have these families that really need help.” Lehman has been in charge of the annual Holiday Gift Baskets program in Potterville for the past several years and has seen the difference the program has made in the lives of community members — those that give as well as receive. The program in Potterville provides food, clothing and gifts for close to 60 families within the Potterville Public Schools District. Last year that included more than 100 children. “With school off for break, we try to provide each family with enough food to last through Christmas break,” Lehman said. “It all depends on the support we receive during the local food drives and the donations we get.” In addition to food, the baskets contain new clothes for each child in the family as well as small, educational gifts. Lehman said it takes support from all corners of the community to make the program a success in...

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