Spend Local

W

e’ve sailed past Black Friday and Digital Monday and other benchmarks of the holiday shopping season that are normally pretty big deals.

However, this is 2020, and things are different. The packed throngs of shoppers busting down the doors of big-box stores the day after Thanksgiving are just a memory in the age of COVID-19, and many people who have tried to get their shopping done before the sanctioned shopping days have passed have been put off schedule this year.

Fortunately, Santa has yet to board his sleigh, and there’s still time to get a special treat for that special someone. Perhaps a unique treat.

We’ve been pounding the Shop Local drum all year, and we’ll break out that drum for its 2020 finale today.

Local mom ‘n pop businesses have weathered a financial environment this year unlike any challenges since the Great Depression. Some have moved operations online, at least to a degree, while others have adapted to the day-to-day realities of life in a pandemic.

Keep them in your thoughts when you round out your shopping list. A good read, a good meal, goods and services and more are all available locally. If you’re not looking for a specific gee-gaw to be wrapped and placed under a tree, consider a gift certificate.

Help our local merchants weather this winter and come out ready to prosper on what will hopefully be something much closer to normal when the warm weather returns.

Every dollar spent locally is the best investment in the local economy, with about two-thirds of that spending staying local. That means local businesses keep the lights on, keep local employees on the payroll and contribute to the community in myriad ways – sponsoring youth groups and sporting events, boosting our schools. Their dollars flow through the community in ways most of us don’t consider, such as the use of local banks, local attorneys and local accountants. They’re a bedrock of the local tax base.

It’s no exaggeration to say they’re the glue that holds small communities such as this together.

That glue has been challenged this year. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey in summer showed nearly three-quarters of small businesses were worried about financial hardships because of pandemic closures, and nearly 60 percent were worried about going out of business for good.

With the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, hope is on the horizon for all of us, small businesses included. But it will take many months for vaccinations to ramp up to the numbers that will make a serious difference.

And a lot can still happen in many months. It’s chilling to recall that the first coronavirus death in the U.S. was recorded Feb. 29. The 300,000th was recorded Monday.

We’ve still a ways to go. But we can get there. Let’s try to all get there together.

Christmas draws near. Shop local.20