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Buy local or bye-bye local this winter

You know me by now. I’m all about keeping our economy going and all of us thriving – which has never been more important in the 38 years I’ve been here in Durango.

We all need to stick together to sustain our economy and our small businesses. Keep Durango and La Plata County strong. As the weather has finally turned to cooler temperatures, those of us working behind the scenes have something for the holiday season. And in the spirit of this week’s election, think of it as voting with your dollars with rewards!

With the pandemic, masks and quarantine, many of our dollars are being spent online and leaving our economy. I can’t blame you for doing that – many of us have transitioned to remote working from our converted living rooms. We are hunkered down and do need supplies, but we hope you will help keep our local businesses alive too, especially as we go into the holiday season.

So here’s the plan. The Chamber has teamed up with the Business Improvement District to reward you for shopping local. Visit durangobusiness.org or downtowndurango.org to discover how buying here at home can provide you with even greater rewards in the form of gift cards. To be clear, you’ll be rewarded for spending your money here in La Plata County.

You’ll need to collect your receipts, and you don’t have to spend everything in one location – it’s the total that makes you eligible for the gift cards. Do your holiday shopping during our proverbial “shoulder” season, which is the toughest time for our retailers and restaurant operations. Participation is easy with a variety of levels, and it’s all spelled out on our websites. Explore what works for you.

All our retail stores and restaurants have gift cards. This not only simplifies your holiday shopping (do a creative Christmas card as the packaging) but also helps sustain our hometown businesses so they can make payroll and support others. Remember, we’re renowned for our unique retail stores and our great restaurants.

The Chamber’s cast of local shopping characters: Buck, Moola, Cash and Penny will be reminding you to shop here at home, and the benefits of the multiplier effect. Think of it this way: “buy local or it’s bye-bye local.”

As of this writing, Local First will host Noel Night(s) downtown to support local shopping. And the Buckley Park (no relation to Buck) Holiday Tree is going to be lit the day after Thanksgiving. No parade, but Santa is going to make a “socially distant” appearance in the park. True, Singing With Santa is not going to be quite the same, but our holiday tree, which is the cornerstone of our downtown district, is going to be lit – holiday lights to inspire us all. Keep current with the Chamber and BID for all the details. Thanks again for looking local first!

And remember to stay in touch and check in on one another throughout the holidays.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.