Our opinion: Support local retailers to keep local economy strong | Coronavirus

This year on Nov. 28 we mark Small Business Saturday, a day to promote locally owned businesses. It’s important to support local retailers and restaurants every year, but perhaps never more than this year. The pandemic of 2020 has wrought havoc on the mom and pop shops that make our […]

This year on Nov. 28 we mark Small Business Saturday, a day to promote locally owned businesses. It’s important to support local retailers and restaurants every year, but perhaps never more than this year.

The pandemic of 2020 has wrought havoc on the mom and pop shops that make our community vibrant. They have worked hard to keep their doors open and keep customers safe, pivoting with new protocols and procedures. Local stores that didn’t have an online presence or curbside pickup before have made those adjustments to keep themselves alive. Many received federal support from the Payroll Protection Plan, but that only helped for a few early months. Now, these business owners are counting on the support of customers to get through this holiday season.

Not all local businesses will survive the challenges of 2020. Some have already made plans to close their doors. Before more of our local friends and neighbors reach such a difficult conclusion, let’s give them all the support we can through the 2020 holidays. For many, how the holidays go will be a deciding factor in how the business will move forward.

What makes this scenario particularly difficult is that no one should be bustling around in crowded shops all day. If ever there were a time to place online orders, this year makes sense. But online doesn’t have to mean Amazon.

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Before you click through your Christmas list, ask yourself if there are any local stores that could provide something similar. Then look for those local stores’ websites — most have them. Then your gift-giving has a double meaning — one for the recipient and one for the local seller.

Have you ever been to a local fundraiser and seen a big donation from Amazon? Has Amazon helped provide food for local pantries? Has that company sponsored worthwhile local events? No. It’s the local stores and restaurants that support non-profits and participate as vital members of our community.

Small Business Saturday has been held the weekend after Thanksgiving since it was created 11 years ago by American Express following the 2009 recession. The idea was that if enough consumers would “shop small” and support local businesses, those retailers could gain strength and lead the state and the country back to a healthy economy. The event has gained popularity and last year, sales on Small Business Saturday reached a record $9.6 billion. Furthermore, every dollar spent locally creates another 50 cents of local business activity as a result of employee spending and a business purchasing local goods.

Buying local has always been important. But this year, the life and livelihood of small business depends on it.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald’s Editorial Board.

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