Local guy all the way keeps my money in the local economy, supports my friends, supports grass roots events, if I break some shit on the hill I know I can ride down to the shop have it fixed and be back on the mountain in no time. Online doesn't remember me as a person just an order number.
QFT....I look around locally first and can usually find what I want or have it ordered by one of the locals. When you stick local, on a regular basis, most will give you some sort of hook up. if for some reason I can't find it in a shop between Edwards and breckenridge I will look online for the best deal. Over the years I have made Friends with a few company owners and they just give me pro form discount codes since between my wife, son and I we go through some gear..... Plus we all love shopping and buying.
The key is not to get all bent out of shape because the won't come off their price by $20 to match an online store. Get over it and buy local, it works out for the better in the end. When my son is riding on his own and something happens to his gear, he can walk in to 3-4 different shops and they will help him fix it or give him a new one that I can settle up with later...... For a good deal. This rolls into summer sports now too like mountain biking and long boarding.....