Paul Gross has one suggestion before you start holiday shopping

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Ever since the pandemic made its way to Michigan, I’ve seen a steady stream of Amazon, Fed Ex and UPS trucks driving up and down my street. And now, I’m already seeing holiday shopping ads and stories in our newscasts. 

Yes, that time of year is upon us, and it’s going to be a strange one this year.

Many of you are already thinking about how you’re going to do your gift giving this year and, in a lot of households, that will mean going online.  But before you do that, I’d like to offer a suggestion: shop local. 

The pandemic has shattered our economy and, for stores that count on the holiday season for seventy-five percent of their annual sales, the next two months will decide whether they stay in business or close for good. If you are comfortable, put on that mask, grab your portable bottle of hand sanitizer, and head over to your favorite store…and remember that even buying a gift card helps the store and the jobs it provides.

If you’re not comfortable going to the store, check and see if you can buy direct from them through their website…including gift cards. Doing this also keeps your money in Michigan and helps the state, as opposed to buying things on Amazon – where you send your money out of state.

Gift cards are also a great gift because, when this pandemic ends, and it WILL end, everybody will flock out to eat, go to movies, go shopping, go bowling, etc. Those gift cards will be celebrated!  And don’t forget our restaurants:  several months ago, I heard a shocking statistic that sixty percent of restaurants won’t survive the pandemic. Those restaurant gift cards we buy just may keep our favorite eateries in business.

So, before you plan your holiday shopping, make shopping local part of your plan. If all of us do this, we can save a bunch of local stores and restaurants, and feel SO good for the people whose jobs we helped preserve. But if everybody just goes online and buys stuff from out of state, don’t be surprised in January if you start hearing about closings, because they WILL happen.

We’ll get through this pandemic together, and together we can shop local this holiday season. SO many jobs are depending upon us. Let’s do this!

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