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story.lead_photo.caption A Rolex watch sits on the counter at Gray's Jewelers in Texarkana, Texas. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — There are many benefits to shopping local, especially when purchasing luxury items as Christmas gifts.

Local retailers say maintaining a positive business relationship with the customer and giving them the service they deserve works to help the community grow.

"We want people to buy local," said Susan Robbins, owner of Robbins Toyota. "It not only benefits us as a local business, but the more our business thrives, we are keeping local tax dollars in the community, the county and the city, it allows us to turn around and give back more to the community as well."

Local businesses also give better customer service as well, Robbins said, because they are owned and operated by hometown folks.

"I like to build those positive relationships," she said. "We treat everybody just like we would want to be treated. We are family owned and our staff is family as well. That's how we treat everybody that walks in the door. We will see them at the grocery store and church. I want everyone to be treated the same and that's how my staff operates as well.

"We have one of the top-rated service departments in the area and that's because we strive on building relationships with our local customers. One of my big things is being out in the community and supporting local things. The more my business is supported, the more we can turn around and give it to schools or local organizations and local events like Sparks in the Park, RailFest and the annual Christmas parade. The more the community supports me, the more I'm able to support the community."

Robin Cope Garrett, the manger of Labels Boutique, agreed that local personal service is important in the business/client relationship.

"Shopping local keeps the money in their hometown," she said. "The client will receive more personal service and chances are you're going to know someone who is helping you. If you shop online and have an issue, you will have to return it by mail. Locally, you can go in the store and talk to a live person and show them what your problem is with the specific item. If someone shops local, you increase the chances of getting your things fixed. You can take it in and show them the item."

The doors of Gray's Jewelers have been open for more than 50 years and owner Danny Gray said that longevity and success are due to their positive relationships with their customers and the community.

"It would be nice if it was a perfect world where nothing went wrong, but it does," Gray said. "The only way to have a really good feeling about your purchase is to deal local and with dependable businesses, which will be there for you, especially with high-end jewelry. Most of us have been here for a long time and any business that withstands that test, you can pretty well depend on the quality they tell you is there. The only thing people have to go by in this day and age is their honor and the dependability of the people you have used in the past and believing the quality is what they say it is."

He also agreed with the other business owners that shopping local helps support the community in important ways.

"It helps too that those people in the local economy support and believe in what you do as well," he said. "Those who purchase high-end items have things they want to support in the community and they do that. It's hard for those people in Dallas or Little Rock to support the things you want to support in Texarkana, but those local businesses do.

"There are so many advantages to it, it's hard to talk about all of them. The dependability and quality by far outweighs buying something out of town from someone who will never see you again. We are here day in and day out. If you buy something here, we can't hide from you. We are always in the community. For those other places, it's easy to forget about you when you walk out that door."

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