DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — While Moonlight Madness on Oct. 24 doesn’t officially kick off the holiday shopping season, organizers hope residents will see it as an opportunity to check out local retailers and remember them when it comes time for Christmas shopping.
Because in the end, money spent locally benefits not just the retailers but the entire community.
“Residents in the Highland Lakes area represent a lot spending power,” said Christian Fletcher, the executive director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. “When that power is focused locally and leakage to other areas is minimized, everybody wins.”
The most obvious benefactors of local sales are the area retail businesses. The more these shops sell throughout the year, the better their bottom lines. And the Christmas shopping season often pushes retailers into the black as they turn a profit.
The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally called Black Friday as it shows the significance of the holiday season for retail businesses.
But those sales translate into more for the local economy.
“Businesses that are more profitable employ more people and pay better wages, which, in turn, generates more direct and indirect sales taxes,” Fletcher said. “When sales tax collections increase, we have more opportunities to invest in enhancing our quality of place and making our community more vibrant while keeping our residents’ property taxes in check and maximizing their disposable income.”
In other words, strong local sales make for better-paying jobs, less dependency on property taxes and more individual financial power.
Though Moonlight Madness falls a week before Halloween, still well ahead of the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season, a good deal remains a good deal. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers aren’t necessarily waiting until Black Friday to hit the stores for Christmas gifts.
In fact, more people are taking advantage of earlier shopping days for several reasons, including avoiding crowds, special deals and spreading out their gift-buying budget.
“Consistent with results seen the past 11 years, four in 10 Americans say they will begin holiday shopping before Halloween,” according to the federation. More than 20 percent actually start looking for deals and shopping in October.
Well, that’s exactly what Moonlight Madness is all about, getting out and shopping, with a very local twist.
So if people hit the Moonlight Madness shops Oct. 24 and get a bunch of Christmas shopping done, it means they can spend the day after Thanksgiving doing what that Friday was created for: eating leftovers.