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Spend your stimulus money at local businesses

Never before has it been more important for those of us who live in and love the Miss-Lou to spend our money with small businesses right here at home.

We are in unprecedented and scary times. All of us are working day by day to make it through this pandemic.

While we are all suffering, no segment of our economy is suffering more than small, local businesses. Some have closed entirely. Others are struggling to stay open, offering to deliver products or let customers pick them up curbside. Others are working to establish online sales.

The good news is, at the same time these small, local businesses are trying to hold on, about $60 million is flowing right now into our Miss-Lou economy in the form of stimulus checks to individuals and families.

If at all possible, please save some of that money to spend with our small, local businesses.

Here in Mississippi, we expect many businesses to begin opening very soon in a way that will likely become our new normal. It will not be business as usual, which is one reason why local businesses need our support now more than ever before.

We expect businesses that do open will need to follow a rigid set of guidelines meant to protect their workers and shoppers. Shoppers, too, will be asked to follow procedures meant to keep them safe — like wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It’s sure to make shopping awkward for a while, but the economic wheels will begin to turn again.

When you spend your money right here at home, the vast majority of that money stays right here in our community.

Local business owners provide jobs by paying local workers. They invest in our community. They pay taxes in our community that in turn benefit all of us. Those tax dollars pay for services our community expects from our municipalities.

Local business owners spend the dollars they earn from us at other local businesses — maybe the one that employs you.

Who do we call when we need a sponsor for our child’s Little League team? When you need to raise money for new band uniforms, or a sponsorship for your daughter who is going to be in a pageant, or any other of a number of community causes?

We call locally owned and operated businesses. Small, local businesses are the backbone of our community. That fact cannot be over-emphasized. It is always important to support local businesses. Right now, however, it’s a matter of life and death for many.

Your community needs you. Please use as much of your stimulus money as possible right here at home.

It is imperative for the rebound of our economy that we shop at home and support local businesses right now and keep doing so throughout this terrible time.

We will make it through this and be able to tell stories about living through the novel coronavirus crisis. We are sturdy folks and we’ll overcome this historic event, too. How quickly our community comes back economically depends on us.

Please do your part.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627, or email at jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.