KUCHARUK: a lack of travel, and business observations

This past weekend, hubby and I were laughing about how little we have traveled during the last 5 months using the tag of North, South, East, West destinations.
I have traveled as far north to Tower Lake area when my sisters and I got lost looking for a specific location and did a little four-by-fouring in my wee Toyota RAV because Google Maps was messing with me. I have not traveled west or south at all and have gone east to Grande Prairie twice for medical appointments. That is the extent of my travel.
We have not even gone camping yet this year because Mother Nature has been messing with us on a daily basis!
My point to all of this is that during the past 5 months we have stayed close to home which included shopping local for almost everything. 99% of the time we could find what we were looking for without having to order online or go out of town. We would challenge ourselves with, “Do you really need to go to XYZ to get that big package of toilet paper?” and the answer was, “No, we don’t”.  
It has been refreshing as I have been able to reconnect with my community and more specifically, the owners of the small businesses in the community. It has felt good to support local knowing that I am giving back to those business owners who have always answered my call for a donation or said yes to participating in a community event. 
If we do not support our local businesses during this time, we will lose them. They are doing their absolute best to work within the COVID-19 guidelines and continue to offer their products and services. Sometimes we cannot find what we are looking for and that is because manufacturing and shipping has been affected or supply cannot quite meet the demand. A store owner reminded me that if you don’t find what you are looking for ask them when/if the product will be back in stock or if they might be able to order it for you instead of immediately turning to Amazon Prime to place a rush order. They need our repeat business – not just now, but after COVID. Shopping locally needs to be a habit.
I have been in awe of our local businesses who have adapted their business models during this tough time: Using social media to announce new products and then offering curbside pick-up, changing business hours to better accommodate, and ensuring that their places of businesses are safe for us to enter.
It is also worth reminding that some of our businesses are not obvious small businesses, instead they are a business which is locally owned by someone who lives in our community. They have a home, pay taxes, their children attend school and they volunteer on local boards or are members of a local club/organization. 
If this crisis has taught us anything it is that we are all in this together: our family, our neighbours, our community and our local businesses.  Let’s keep the pedal to the metal and continue to support emotionally and financially especially as we head into fall and winter – this isn’t over yet. 
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