One of the main answers we have for the current problems with Eastern Kentucky’s economy is to encourage local entrepreneurship — small, locally-owned businesses which create jobs and help sustain the community’s economy.

And, while people often pay lip service to the idea of “shopping locally,” the reality is that, far too often, our actual support of those companies falls far short of our words.

Instead of spending just a little extra on an item, we’d often rather spend more in gas to travel outside the area or spend the same amount on shipping an item bought online, falsely telling ourselves we’re getting a bargain.

And while we should support all businesses within our ability, in the cases where we can purchase a particular item locally, doing so supports sustainability in our communities.

Money spent at local businesses recirculates through our community — from the employees paid by the company who, in return, shop at other local businesses, to the banking done by the company and the purchases it makes to sustain its operation.

Our area is struggling to recover from losses of the coal industry and affiliated businesses. People are hurting right now. Adding to that is the last two years of pandemic response, economic uncertainty and other impacts.

And, one of the quickest and easiest fixes is simply to support local businesses.

You may not even be aware of how many local options are available, but there’s an easy way to find them, and it doesn’t always involve searching online.

In the pages of this newspaper and our various publications, we feature advertisements from and features on many of these companies, as they inform the public not only of their existence, but also of why they’re deserving of our support.

This coming week marks the kickoff of the season, with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. We can start it off right this year, with our minds and our focus on support local employers.

This Christmas shopping season, let’s all make a concerted effort to patronize these local retailers. Because, if we do, the gift we give is not only for our loved ones, but also to our community and ourselves.

And that’s a cycle we can all support.