Today is Small Business Saturday, so it’s a fitting time for The Daily Independent to issue a simple challenge: Purchase at least one item from a small business in your area today.

If you want to tackle an even loftier task, do the same every day from now until Christmas. Average it out, if that’s more manageable. For instance, buy two items at a local shop today, and take a break tomorrow. 

You can do this safely, while maintaining physical distance and wearing masks properly, covering your nose and mouth. 

If you are unable to attempt this challenge because of financial reasons, or if one a day is too much, there are other ways to support local businesses — for instance, post about them on social media, inform yourself about these businesses and pass the word along. 

As we’ve written several times throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, these businesses need support more now than ever. It’s crucial that they survive in order for the local economy to thrive.

Whether it’s buying a cup of coffee, a meal, a stylish outfit, a piece of furniture, a musical instrument or something else, your patronage to these places goes a long way.

Given that so many understandably are staying home throughout these uncertain times, gift cards are a perfect purchase option for a stocking stuffer.

The Institute For Local Self-Reliance published a list of top 10 reasons for supporting local businesses.

They are the following: 1. Local character and prosperity; 2. Community well-being; 3. Local decision-making; 4. Keeping dollars in the local economy; 5. Jobs and wages; 6. Entrepreneurship; 7. Public benefits and costs; 8. Environmental sustainability; 9. Competition; and 10. Product diversity.

The bottom line is we can’t write these two words enough: Support local.

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