Kearsley: Shop early and shop local for the holidays
If there were ever a year to do holiday shopping locally, please make it 2020.
Much has been made about how terrible this year has been for many people — and justifiably so.
COVID-19 has taken lives, canceled events, closed businesses and shut down schools. Wildfires, smoke and high winds left homes, farms, fields and forests in ruin and even canceled virtual events. Social discord over diversity, equity, and inclusion and the responses to violent protests have seemingly severed our country politically. And the presidential election has many on edge as participants in both camps resort to accusations, name-calling and cries of voting fraud.
Truly, we cannot race to 2021 fast enough.
Unfortunately, the end of the year also means the end of COVID-19 adjustments that have kept businesses going during the summer.
Government support programs are set to expire. Outdoor expanded seating capacities for food and beverage establishments will no longer be inviting. And the ask to minimize indoor gatherings will be as prevalent as ever to avoid infection spikes.
As a result of all these timing and weather-related shifts, and in the spirit of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce's tagline of "Driving Relationships, Business & Community," we ask our Sherwood community to "Be Local. Buy Local."
Buying local is an investment in our community. Your local dollars maintain Sherwood's economic vitality and quality of life through jobs and taxes that help build city infrastructure, schools, and civic programs.
Keeping local businesses alive today means tomorrow there will be sponsorships for the local youth sports leagues, donations to art programs, and fundraiser events for local families in need.
Many local businesses employ our youth who are exploring career paths, gaining valuable work experience and trying to save money for college.
Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses that use local resources sustainably, employ workers at decent wages and serve primarily local customers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports.
Buying local helps the environment by reducing fuel consumption and the need for shipping goods.
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell has sounded the alarm bell. "If a small or medium-sized business becomes insolvent because the economy recovers too slowly, we lose more than just that business," he said. "These businesses are the heart of our economy and often embody the work of generations."
With November and December right around the corner, holiday shopping lists are being made. Please look around Sherwood to see which retail businesses can help you complete your lists. And do not forget about our local restaurants, cafes, and even service providers. Their gift certificates make great gifts for your local friends and neighbors.
And shop early! If you are traditionally a Christmas Eve shopper, you may be disappointed in what is left of the shelves this year. The uncertainty of the pandemic has thrown manufacturing and shipping schedules out of whack. Many stores are starting the holiday season with limited inventory of many popular items, and the supply chain may not move quick enough to restock shelves for a December rush.
Be healthy and safe this holiday season.
Corey Kearsley is executive director of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.
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