Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Think local this shopping season

by Daily Inter Lake
| December 3, 2020 12:00 AM

Congress continued its stalemate over the parameters of a new federal stimulus bill this week, and there doesn’t appear to be an end to the partisan bickering anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the locally owned storefronts and restaurants that make our downtowns vibrant and desirable are precariously teetering — some clinging to the hope that a robust holiday shopping season will be enough to carry them through the winter.

To make matters worse, many of the events meant to get folks out the door and shop local have been canceled due to virus precautions. Small Business Saturday was a no-go this year, along with The Art Walk and Holiday Stroll in Kalispell, and Ladies’ Night and the Whitefish Stroll in Whitefish.

Thankfully, the valley’s chambers of commerce are getting creative with new campaigns to help spur the local economy while keeping safety in mind.

The Kalispell Chamber’s “Get Vocal about Local” campaign features interactive signs placed at different businesses through Dec. 24. When shoppers spot the signs they can take a picture with their mask on and post it on social media. Using the hashtag #DiscoverKalispell, they will be entered to win one of five $50 gift cards given out every week.

The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce is promoting its “Christmas Tree Shopping Spree.” For every $20 spent at participating Whitefish businesses, shoppers will earn a raffle ticket and a chance to win one or more of the prize packages beneath eight Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses.

The Bigfork Area Chamber is holding a similar event with a shopping spree and gift baskets as prizes, the Columbia Falls Chamber organized the “Get Your Jingle On” campaign along with a 12 Days of Christmas promotion, while the Evergreen Chamber is helping businesses with marketing through its “Whoville” campaign.

We encourage you to take advantage of these promotions, and to think local when opening your wallet this season — our Main Street businesses are counting on it.