I have, most recently, had some texts sent to me with funny sayings and sarcastic cartoons regarding the year 2020 and what it has brought to us. Most indicate that the year 2020 has ended up feeling like a lifetime of challenges. These aren’t just individual challenges, but they are social challenges, educational challenges, financial challenges, emotional challenges, and more. Things feel difficult right now. Whether it’s making sure you have a mask to enter a public facility or whether it is getting the rent paid it feels complicated. Emotions are at an all-time high with politics plopped down right in the middle of it. Elections have heightened the challenge of maneuvering life for many.
With the holiday season charging at us full steam ahead, we are faced with the reality that the holiday season is bound to look different with COVID-19. We are trying to navigate through uncharted territory and plan for the next few months. Good news, it’s going to be ok. We got this and we can make it a great last quarter of the year if everyone does their part.
Creating a community that supports one another is important. Obviously, we have worked hard to promote local businesses, but a lot of 2020 has been simply getting local business back open and rebooted after the state wide closure. We have been so focused on helping people meet requirements for the phased approach to reopening that operating with a profit got shoved to the side. Now that we are mostly operational and the holidays are almost here, it’s time to take the conversation regarding local retail and services and beat the “Choose Local First” drum.
We have talked about the importance of choosing local for years, but we have never needed people to consider thinking about what that means to our economy in 2020. It is easy to hear the message and to move forward with good intentions but get distracted with the ease of jumping online and ordering your holiday groceries, gifts and anything else you desire on the internet. Just a few things to consider. Did you know that you can choose local online retailers? Many local businesses have modified their business strategy due to COVID and now have an online presence. I encourage everyone to google your favorite local stores to see what they have to offer. You may be surprised at what you find. Also, please consider buying local services as a gift this holiday season. Whether it is a Christmas gift for your staff or family or friend, spending the money locally will make a difference. Ideas like a manicure and pedicure, a massage, a gift certificate at a local retail store, or a yummy meal to-go makes a lovely gift and helps our local economy. Each and every one of us “CAN” make a difference and it is going to take extra effort to support our “Choose Local” campaign this year.
We are excited to share that the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce is going to try to do our part as well and still have our “Choose Local Black Friday Bag” Event. It is going to be on Wednesday, November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving, as usual, but the location has changed. Due to social distancing concerns, we will be doing a drive up bag distribution in the parking lot of the Lewis County Mall. You are free to line up your car anytime after 12:00 pm but the bags don’t start getting distributed until 5:00 pm. We will hand out 250 bags for free with a bundle of wonderful random gifts from local retailers and service providers. #ChooseLocalFirst