Shopping locally for the holidays has never been so important. (Submitted)

Editorial: Buying local for holidays never so important

It’s an important thing to consider when you go to do both your in person and online shopping

Buying locally for the holidays has never been as important as it is this year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many local businesses are struggling, and sadly, some have already had to permanently close their doors. With the provincial government and health officials urging us to stay at home as much as possible, or at least to stay in our own communities, the many people who are planning their Christmas lists should consider taking a look at our local Cowichan businesses, especially our small business community.

This is the annual BC Buy Local Week, and organizers of the campaign have some sobering statistics. “Local businesses employ eight times more people per square foot than multinationals, and keep 63 cents of every dollar in the community, creating up to 4.6 times the economic impact over any money spent at a non-local business,” a press release for the week tells us.

It’s an important thing to consider when you go to do both your in person and online shopping — perhaps especially your online shopping. The press release also tells us that retail sales have plummeted, while online shopping with multinationals has soared. So maybe instead of being so quick to click a sale on an online retail giant, take a few minutes to look at the website of your favourite local store and see what options they have to offer. If we want them to still be there after the pandemic is over, it’s something we need to do.

And it’s not like it’s a hardship. Our local businesses are awesome, and offer an incredible array of products and services. From wine to soap, chocolate to toys, clothing and everything in between, local products and the local buying experience will blow you away.

Many have developed websites and are offering things like curbside pickup or even delivery for those who are afraid to venture too far from homes because of the virus.

In Lake Cowichan, winter is often a lean time for businesses, and this year more than ever. Choosing to spend your money in the community can and does help businesses make it through to next summer.

We promise, Amazon doesn’t need your business the way that the boutique down the street does. They’re doing just fine. Your neighbours who own a local gift shop, probably not so much. Yet these are the businesses that support our communities and we need to support them in return.

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