Editorial: Shopping locally matters more than ever

Posted 11/25/20

It’s always a good idea to shop locally, and it might mean more this year than ever before.

The pandemic has disrupted everything — every person, every organization, every business. By …

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Editorial: Shopping locally matters more than ever

Posted

It’s always a good idea to shop locally, and it might mean more this year than ever before.

The pandemic has disrupted everything — every person, every organization, every business. By all indications, it is surging again with the arrival of winter.

Local and state governments have tried to assist the many businesses impacted, and the hospitality sector has been a frequent beneficiary of government assistance — deservedly so. The independent, locally-owned and operated restaurants of the East Bay are collectively one of the great strengths of this region.

They attract visitors from far beyond these borders, and they improve the quality of life for all those living here. Grouped together, the Bristol County restaurants offer as much diversity and excellence as can be found in many of America’s best cities.

However, many of their neighbors deserve similar attention but are typically overlooked. Small retailers are often less visible, less flashy, and lesser known, but they too are critical to the quality of life in this region.

These small businesses fill storefronts, pay rents, employ residents (including, in nearly all cases, their owner-operators) and bring an intangible energy, call it  vibrancy, to these small communities.

And they are hurting this year. A lost summer, followed by a diminished holiday season, could be devastating to those just hoping just to survive.

In the era of Covid, there is great temptation to nestle into the couch and order every holiday gift or product via Amazon or other online retailers. This season is certain to create a windfall beyond anything ever recorded for what is already one of the largest and richest companies in the history of the world.

Yet before pumping every dollar of their holiday budgets into global retailers, local residents should consider the merits of spreading some of that holiday cheer locally. These neighborhood retailers are just down the road, sell unique products that aren’t at the top of every search page and offer Covid-friendly shopping experiences without crowds or long lines of people.

More than ever before, there is value in shopping locally this year. Without a boost to the local economy this year, shoppers may find there are fewer options than ever next year.

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.