Your suggestion that holiday shoppers patronize local businesses is an admirable one (“Growing local best way to boost economic growth” Dec. 14). That is something I strive to do all year long. However, if a local business expects to get my patronage, I expect it to be open at reasonable times and have an informative website.

An idea for a gift came to me on Sunday. I did a computer search for a local business that might have the item and found a shop in Portland that I thought might carry it. Unfortunately, the website did not list any inventory. As it was Sunday, I wrote down the phone number and called the shop Monday morning.

Oops! The shop is only open Tuesday through Saturday. I hung up and called again Tuesday morning around 9:30. Oops, again! I listened to the complete message this time only to find out they do not open until 11 a.m. Frustration won out and I pushed the “add to cart” button on the website. The gift is now in my possession waiting to be wrapped. If the local shop had a more up-to-date website with, at a minimum, a general list of its inventory and its hours of operation, I might have made the drive to Portland.

Local businesses must recognize that online retailers put all kinds of information at the shoppers’ fingertips 24 hours a day. In order to compete, they must do likewise. And it would certainly be smart to be open on Mondays and before 11 a.m. during the Christmas shopping season.