This time last year Socorro County residents where signing petitions and holding rallies in an effort to change the minds of people in the corporate office who made the decision to close the Smith’s Food and Drug Store.

They faced long odds. Corporate officials said they made the decision because the company couldn’t continue to sustain large losses.

It was portrayed as a local business versus large corporation battle even though Smith’s was owned by the national chain Kroger.

But the store’s national ownership didn’t do anything to soften the blow on the local economy. Most of the store’s 66 employees lost their jobs rather than transfer out of the community.

The main message from the petition drives and rallies, however, still resonates.

Those signing the petitions and attending the rallies were urged to “shop local.”

The sad part of the effort to save Smith’s was that it came a couple of years too late if one believes the corporate officials who made the decision.

But while the effort to save Smith’s was a little too late, it is not too late to save other businesses in the community.

It is not too late to help new businesses get off to a good start. It is not too late to help thriving businesses in the community become even stronger.

Many of our businesses are battling stiff competition from online merchants and the big retail stores in Albuquerque.

We’re not telling you not to shop online. We’re not telling you not to shop at the big retail stores in Albuquerque.

Sometimes, the online offers are too hard to pass up.

And sometimes, the item you are looking for isn’t offered here.

We understand.

But we are asking you to check out what our local businesses have to offer. Maybe you can find that really unique Christmas gift at one of our local stores, gift shops or art galleries.

Maybe you can find that good pair of cowboy boots, jeans or bedroom set right here in Socorro.

While signing petitions and attending rallies were a couple of ways of showing support for your neighbors during the last holiday season, shopping local this holiday season is another way of showing your support.

Buying merchandise at local stores, eating at local restaurants and having your car repaired at local automobile repair businesses are ways of making sure your neighbors remain employed, keep a roof over their head and keep their families fed.

It also helps local governing bodies in a time when state funding is being slashed because of declining oil and gas revenue. Shopping local not only helps our local merchants. It helps keep our roads paved, our school buildings maintained and makes sure vital local services are paid for.