It’s more important than ever.
As the weather around us shifts to fall, I always reflect back on the year. The months from October to the end of the year seem to mark a time of gathering with those you love and savoring the simple joys of coziness and community, and many of these gatherings include food and gifts.
As my mind turns to the holidays, I can’t help but think of the small business owners in our community! The year of 2020 certainly has not been an easy one for any of us, but especially our local shops and stores. Local businesses add so much to our community – from the many coffee shops, to the boutiques, to the restaurants, to the unique art and gifts. I am amazed at how each of them have rolled with the punches of 2020, and have overcome many challenges that have been thrown their way. I hope we can show our love and appreciation by shopping small this season.
Here are some ideas of how to support local:
- Gift shopping. Whether you are getting ahead of the game on Christmas shopping, or simply needing a hostess gift to bring for a party, consider buying a gift from one of our local businesses. Maybe a bag of coffee beans from Eli’s or Zion, a candle from So Chic, a plant from the Plant Mum, a box of scones from Four30, a bag of popcorn from The Great American Popcorn Co., a piece of decor from Floral Designs, a plaid shirt from The Rambler…you get the point!
- Order carry-out. Even though eating out looks much different than it once did, there are still many ways to enjoy our favorite local restaurants’ delicious food! Consider getting carryout and inviting a few friends or family members to an outdoor park to enjoy the last bits of Fall. Or stop by a favorite restaurant on your way home from work, light a candle to set the mood, and enjoy a sweet “date night in.”
- Frequent coffee shops. Consider buying a gift card for a fellow coffee-loving friend to enjoy this Christmas season! Another great idea is to grab drinks to-go and surprise some co-workers with coffee in the morning. The holidays are for giving – and doing so brings joy to all. We love our coffee shops and the quality they add to our lifestyle as a community – let’s make sure they know that.
- Shop online, but local. Even though some local shops may have to temporarily close their doors or limit their hours, consider shopping online! This is a great way to invest in them and enjoy the quality, local goods. If you get something delivered, don’t forget to tip the delivery person just a little extra! That gesture goes a long way in showing appreciation and acknowledgement of the unusual conditions and extra stress that has been affecting our economy recently. Some stores offer curb-side pick-up; this is always an option as well.
These are just a few of the countless ways we can show our love to our local business owners! Our community, and our lives, would not be the same without them, and “unlocking new doors” in Central Illinois would be a little less sweet. We are strongest when we stand together, and it is a privilege to stand by you!