The holidays are a great opportunity to support local businesses as we shop for friends and loved ones. It is especially important this year to support our local small businesses considering the significant impacts COVID-19 restrictions have had on their operations.
Small businesses truly are the backbone of our local economy and our communities. Our local businesses are often owned and operated by fellow community members who give back to local causes and organizations. According to Local First’s “Local Works” study, $68 from every $100 spent at a local business stays in the local economy. That is compared to $43 when spent at a non-local company. This means more money is going to local suppliers, local wages, investments in the community, and other local businesses.
While shopping at local small businesses is a great way to support our communities all the time, right now it is especially important. COVID-19 restrictions have closed the doors of many businesses and significantly reduced the customer base and sales for many others. While large national chains have been able to weather the storm better due to their size, small businesses have been hit hardest. If more of us are able to spend our holiday shopping dollars locally, we can help these business owners and their employees keep the doors open for years to come.
Snohomish County has been focused on economic recovery and resiliency since the start of the pandemic. We recognized that the statewiderestrictions and reduced consumer confidence would have a significant negative impact on our businesses. That is why we have invested over $40 million of CARES ACT dollars into direct grants and other support for small businesses throughout the county.
One new tool that we have recently launched is “Support Sno Co”, a campaign to promote local businesses and increase exposure for their products and services. By partnering with local chambers of commerce, cities, and businesses, the County developed and launched https://www.supportsnoco.com/, a website which showcases local businesses and encourages residents to spend their money locally for holiday shopping.
The site advertises specific businesses and the products and services they offer. There is a great variety of businesses featured from restaurants and retail to experiences and services. You can certainly find many ways to check off your holiday shopping list with the products available at these local businesses.
I hope you will join me in shopping local this holiday season and in the future as we support our local communities and the businesses which support us all. In closing, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at (425) 388-3494.