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Shop Locally

             or Else * * * * * * * *

Dear Editor,

The Shopping Local” theme always comes up around the Holidays but this year, due to the significant COVID-19 impacts, it’s even more important to support local businesses.  As eastern Montana communities continue to lose population and businesses, economic issues and needs have become even more urgent.  Most effective economic development starts at the local level.  That’s why supporting your local merchants is so vitally important during these challenging times.  Here are a few reasons to shop local:

* Local stores and businesses provide much needed jobs for our communities and pay taxes 

   which supports local government services and schools.  Consider that the next time you ask a

   local merchant for a donation.  Do the On-Line or out-of-town merchants give donations to our  

   local groups or support our local government services and schools?

* Shopping “Out-of Town” only helps “Out-of Towner’s.”  Sure you may save a few dollars on

   products and services but consider the high cost in traveling in dollars and time.  A shopping

   trip to another large Montana city would cost hundreds of dollars in operating vehicle expense. 

   You would have to buy lots of stuff in that big city to offset that expense.

* Give local merchants first chance at your business.  Vote with your dollars.  Now it’s very easy

   to say that there are not any good stores in town, or they do not have what I need, etc., etc., but

   I would encourage you to make a special effort to find your goods and services at the local

   level. Most of what you need can be found at local stores, if you look.  If not, ask a merchant to

   carry it or to special order it.  Whether it’s buying clothes, a burger or perhaps something  

   handmade at one of the arts and crafts shows, we all win if we support local businesses.

* Consumers vote with dollars so merchants need to listen to them and then take action.

* Merchants should be pro-active as well – do not wait for customers to come in – go get them.

* For seer survival, merchants need to evaluate and provide better customer Service, better  

   Savings and better Selections.

During this stressful Holiday season, let’s remember to make a special effort to support our local merchants.  If we don’t, who will? 

Jim Atchison

Colstrip

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