So, Thanksgiving has come and gone. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have also passed. I have a few burning questions for you.

Are you done with your shopping? Have you started? Are you spending more or less money than last year?

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to Christmas and gift giving. Believe in giving something to everyone, including the paper boy? Great. Believe our society has become too materialistic? I get that. Want to get back to the real meaning of Christmas? Right on.

If you are someone who will be buying gifts his year, I’d like to make the case for spending some money in the town where you live.

I’m sure you have already heard much of what I am going to tell you at least once. While the benefits of shopping locally are often understood, the very real consequences of spending decisions in 2020 cannot and must not be underestimated.

We all know this year has been anything but normal. The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting fallout from lockdowns and outbreaks has impacted, either directly or indirectly, every business in our community.

A few have thrived, some have struggled and others are in the fight of their lives.

With a vaccine or three on the horizon, it may be a matter of a few long, hard winter months before things begin to return to normal. (Whatever that is, I imagine it will not be what it was before.)

We all seem to spend money at Christmas time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the light in literally the darkest time of the year. It seems we need as much light and warmth as possible at this time of the year, a boost to get through to the other side.

While many have become accustomed to receiving their heart’s desire in a box delivered to the front door, the cost of that transaction can be higher and more far reaching than you anticipated.

Having retailers in your community is a sign of economic health and a leap of faith for the owners.

Is it convenient to have them there when you need them? Yes. Do they care about your happiness and satisfaction? Yes, if they don’t, they won’t be around long. Will they always be there for you? If it was up to the business owners, I’m guessing the answer is yes, but in years like 2020, there are new layers of complications that may prove to be their undoing.

The bottom line is local businesses lower your tax burden by shouldering some of load for your community. Local businesses are often the first people approached to give donations to everything from little league to benefits for medical expenses of local residents. They employ your friends and neighbors, allowing them to be close to home an available to their families. And, in many cases, they will literally try their best to find a way to make things right in your shopping experience.

Look, the large retailers may have buying power and possibly lower prices, but they often pale in comparison when it comes to reinvesting in payroll and taxes to our community.

When local businesses succeed, our community thrives. It would be much darker for us without these businesses.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.