FEATURED LETTER BY FREEHOLDER JOE VICARI
Schools are getting ready to open and students from kindergarten to high school will be looking for the latest fashions, sneakers, backpacks and school supplies for the start of the new year.
The perfect place to shop for back-to-school is right here in Ocean County. Our numerous small businesses and malls offer the latest and best items for young children and teenagers.
I have often spoken about the importance of our Buy in Ocean County initiative, especially around the holidays. Nevertheless, Buy in Ocean County is important all year long, including back-to-school time.
There are so many advantages to shopping local. Numerous well-stocked stores with helpful salespeople are only minutes away from any of our 33 towns.
Our local businesses offer everything from that perfect lunchbox for the first day of first grade to a new laptop for a student heading off to college.
Shopping locally not only supports neighborhood businesses, but it has other advantages over ordering online or through a catalog.
When you buy local, you are protected against fraud. Both our county and state agencies have much more power when dealing with a local business complaint.
For example, if a computer bought locally does not work and a customer has a problem returning it, the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs can help.
However, there is little the department can do if an item is purchased online.
Buying local means you can have confidence in your purchases. It can also save you money.
Many times, catalog and online offers can seem cheaper, but don’t forget to add in the shipping costs.
And if you have to return an item, it’s much easier to drive down the street and visit the store rather than pack and ship a package across country.
Frequenting local businesses also helps protect Ocean County jobs.
When you buy local you are supporting your neighbors. Our business community is a vital part of Ocean County.
Local businesses also donate to local charities and give back to their communities, something that cannot be said about most catalog and online firms.
As Chairman of the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism, I encourage all of our residents to see what our local stores have to offer.
With our many Mom & Pop businesses, chain stores, malls and outlet stores, everything you need for back to school is located right here at our doorstep.
Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari