Recently a friend of ours got up at a public meeting and proudly boasted that last year he and his wife did all of their Christmas shopping in Auburn. He was excited about their accomplishment. Their actions as thoughtful local consumers directly benefited their family and their community.

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, we don’t expect residents to shop exclusively in Auburn. That’s unrealistic. But it’s certainly fun and worthwhile to take what we call “The Think Auburn First Challenge.” There is an amazing array of goods and services that are available from Auburn merchants. So, if you need a particular good or service for yourself, Mom or Dad, the kids, a niece or nephew, it pays to find out if the good or service is available from a local merchant before driving down the hill or ordering online from a corporation located thousands of miles away. Giving Auburn merchants the first shot, the first opportunity is what Think Auburn First is all about. When we do this, we are successfully completing the “Think Auburn First Challenge.”

Why Think Auburn First? First and foremost, Auburn merchants offer low prices and customized personal services. The small town experience includes the ability to talk directly to business owners who are very knowledgeable about the goods and services that he or she is offering. It’s great to get to know local business owners on a first-name basis. The friendly business owner can make decisions on the spot to customize the good or service to meet the needs of the customer.

Secondly, when we purchase a good or service from an Auburn merchant, a portion of our dollars goes to support a wide array of public and community services. A percentage of our sales tax dollars are used to hire professional and highly trained police officers and firefighters. The money also flows to help fix potholes, pave our roads and construct streetlights. And since Auburn merchants are major contributors to dozens and dozens of community activities, a another portion of our consumer dollars end up supporting worthwhile activities such as the Festival of Lights Parade, the State Theater, the Auburn Symphony, little league teams, Girl Scouts, and helping the poor with food and shelter. We are re-circulating Auburn dollars to strengthen our quality of life in Auburn.

This is a great time of year to take “The Think Auburn First Challenge.” We all succeed together when we give Auburn merchants the first opportunity to win our business. Check out the various websites of Auburn merchants at www.oldtownauburnca.com, www.downtownauburnca.com, www.auburnchamber.net, and www.thinkauburnfirst.com. Or just take an enjoyable walk through Old Town and Downtown and discover some amazing offerings and friendly personal service. The roadway construction in Auburn’s Central Square is near completion and this temporary inconvenience will soon be over. The multi-phase Streetscape project to connect Old Town to Downtown will make shopping in Auburn an even more pleasurable activity for the whole family.