Although a great many stores opened Thursday afternoon and Thursday night, today is often considered the official start of the Christmas shopping season.
It's called Black Friday and the phrase traces its roots as far back as the early 1960s. Many sources credit - or blame as the case might be - the Philadelphia area for coining it. It apparently means that point in the retail process when a profit is realized.
Whenever it started and whatever it means, Black Friday is the first day of the Christmas shopping season, a time of the year that makes or breaks many retailers whose businesses make up an important part of the local economy.
The Mining Journal says it every year at about this time and this year won't be any different: Keep as many of the dollars you have or will set aside right here in the local economy and buy local.
The reasons are obvious but are worth repeating: Local businesses employ local people and pay local taxes. Your friends, your neighbors, members of your family, work in local businesses. Their jobs are important. They, no doubt, help to support yours.
So before you shop online for a gift, or plan a weekend in Wisconsin, give local businesses a try. You'll find them filled with competitively-priced products and staffed with helpful people - your friends, your neighbors, members of your family.
And then on Saturday, be sure to frequent the fine small business in Superiorland. It'll be Small Business Saturday, underscoring the many outstanding local small businesses that offer great products at great prices.
All types of stores have their place in the local economy. Spend your Christmas cash there. You'll be doing yourself, and the economy, a very large favor.