June 15, 2024

Amid COVID-19, ‘Shop Local’ goes from holiday slogan to mandate

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Editorial Board

“Shop local.”

Yea, we know. You read that every year about this time.

This year, though, “shop local” is more than a holiday slogan. It’s an urgent plea. More than a few local businesses face dire circumstances as this COVID-19 pandemic rages. 

Small town Minnesotans must do all they can to help these locally owned and operated entities make it through this year.

As everyone knows by now, for the second time in less than nine months, COVID-19 has forced at least a month-long closure of bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, and more. 

Necessary restrictions on events and gatherings mean there will likely be no company parties or even “let’s just stop for one after work.” Honestly, even the seasonal battle cry of “let’s go shopping” could be muted in the face of this deadly spike of COVID-19.

Amid all that, though, most of us are probably still planning on shopping for holiday gifts. And we certainly still need to purchase daily necessities.

When you make those purchases, please make them with locally owned and operated businesses. Especially this year.

Sure, you can still do that via the internet. Just make sure you search specifically for local businesses. And then click and spend through them.

Can’t find their websites? Dig a little harder and find their phone numbers. Call and ask what are their options for helping you find and buy what you need, whether it’s one package of toilet paper or gifts for family members.

Similarly, if you lead a business or organization that normally would hold a holiday or year-end celebration, don’t just put those plans — and money — on hold. Work with your host to shift that event a few months or more into 2021. Still, though, pay for it now if that’s at all possible!

And most certainly, reach out to your favorite local restaurant or bar and give them your support. Purchase gift cards or other merchandise they sell. 

Of all the industries tested by this pandemic, the hospitality industry stands out as the most challenged. Help them make it through this so they can welcome you back, hopefully to ring in the New Year.

“Shop local” like your neighbor’s livelihood depends on it. Because this year it really does.

This is the opinion of the Times Editorial Board, which includes News Director Lisa Schwarz, Engagement Editor Randy Krebs, and Content Coach Anna Haecherl.

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