QUAD CITIES — 2020 has been a miserable year. We’ve all had it tough, but I will argue that none of us have had as difficult a time as our small business owners. Many of them were forced to shut down. Their incoming revenue evaporated, but their bills didn’t. When they were finally allowed to reopen, they found many of us were used to the convenience of shopping from Amazon and waiting at home for delivery. That convenience is great many consumers, but not so great if you own a small business and depend on foot traffic and shoppers coming to you. It is a difficult position for our small businesses, but I’m not asking you to feel sorry for them. If we lose them, you should feel sorry for your town.
These businesses are the ones who buy advertising at the hockey rink, donate to fundraising dinners for people who fall ill, support the local civic clubs, and fund the organizations that help make our part of the state great. If we lose these small businesses the owners will suffer, but so will each and every one of us.
At the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, we understand how important our small businesses are to our communities. We challenged ourselves to do more than ever before to support them, and we came up with the idea to extend Small Business Saturday from one day to an entire week. Our members donated $1,000 as a prize for us to use to encourage shopping small, and we want each and every one of you to earn as many raffle entries as you can. The best part? We aren’t charging you to enter.
If you want to help your community, feel good about yourself, and earn a chance to win $1,000, all you need to do is shop at one of the participating businesses from the traditional Small Business Saturday until December 5 and post a picture of your receipt on our smartphone-friendly chamber app. You can earn an entry by picking up breakfast at the Village Inn, an entry for buying an engraved coffee cup at Range Office Supply & Equipment, filling a cup with coffee at Kunnari’s Kitchen and Coffee House, buying lunch at the Sawmill Saloon and Restaurant, a gift at John’s Drug, dinner at the Whistling Bird, and then picking up a drink at Popper’s Bar. A complete list of participating businesses will be posted at www.laurentianchamber.org. You earn one entry for each purchase once you upload the receipt to our app.
This Small Business Week is a great chance for all of us to buy goods, do good, and possibly win a $1,000 prize.
Erik Holmstrom is the president of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, serving the Quad Cities of Mountain Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, and Gilbert.