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Private and public initiatives are launched to help businesses survive the pandemic.

COURTESY SHOPSMALLPDX - Art from the ShopSmallPDX campaign.Forget about a white Christmas — Portland businesses are dreaming of a profitable Christmas.

Several private and public initiatives have been launched to encourage people to shop local. They include PDXSOS, run by the advocacy coalition, ShopSmallPDX.com, operated by the city of Portland, and the #GivetheGiftofOregon campaign supported by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office, Travel Oregon and Business Oregon.

After a year of obstacles — ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, to protests, to wildfire smoke, to burglaries and more — it's no surprise local shops are hurting. This year, more than ever, they're relying on fourth-quarter sales to get them through to 2021.

"Like many small businesses, we rely so much on the holiday season," said Haley Dunham, manager of Woonwinkel, a home goods and gift store in downtown Portland. "We did the math and if we get 70% of our sales of last year, we will just be able to stay afloat."

Local shops have had to get creative, and they've had to unify.

That's where PDXSOS comes in. It's a program of Bricks Need Mortar, an advocacy coalition designed to support small, independent businesses. It started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to encourage people to buy gift cards from businesses during the first shutdown. It then evolved into a directory of more than 600 small, brick-and-mortar businesses where people can shop.

"We have everything from auto shops to yoga studios to massage and estheticians. We have gift shops and clothing stores. We have pet stores," said Sarah Shaoul, founder of PDXSOS. "So, really, the whole continuum of Main Street."

The hundreds of local businesses included in PDXSOS can be found here.

{obj:50589:SkopSmallPDX.com } is led by Prosper Portland, formerly known as the Portland Development Commission, and links directly to hundreds of local businesses. It is searchable by location and category.

Businesses range from cafes, bars and restaurants to personal care and lifestyle gifts, food products and pet accessories — as well as services such as curbside pickup, online ordering and delivery, gift cards and subscription boxes.

There is also an "inclusive focus" on businesses owned by members of the BIPOC community.

Businesses who want to be added to the website can fill out a form here.

When Brown announced the GivetheGiftofOregon campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 18, she said, "Oregon's businesses are the backbone of our communities and our economy, and I am encouraging all Oregonians to shop locally this holiday season. Strengthening our economy starts here at home.

"One way Oregonians can help is to spend locally to keep dollars with our homegrown businesses that are run by our neighbors, family and friends. Many local retailers are offering online, curbside pickup, and 'take-out' shopping options, making it easy for Oregonians to shop safely."

Featured businesses and gift ideas will be featured on its website. The campaign also highlights the Oregon Wine Board's The Giving Season efforts, as well as the Built Oregon Marketplace, an online platform that provides consumers with an opportunity to discover products from Oregon makers.

KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. They can be found here.


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