We have heard so many stories about local businesses having a hard time staying open, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also because of a lack of employees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says approximately 60 percent of small businesses have experienced some sort of setback because of the pandemic, from the inability to keep enough people on staff to having to close forever.

In my opinion, we have not seen the need to shop locally and support hometown businesses like these before — with the exception of during world wars or the Great Depression. With online options, it can sometimes feel like using your phone to buy something is easier than making the trek just a few blocks or miles to buy whatever may be needed. While the internet may provide a sense of ease and convenience, it may also be doing more harm than good to your friends and neighbors.

This concept of shopping locally has been taken a step further through a program called “Buy Missouri.” This economic development initiative actively promotes the products that are grown, manufactured, processed and/or made in Missouri to other states, and even the world. It is also a great way to learn more about the many small businesses that currently exist in our state.

With so many great people and an abundance of buying options, there is no reason to stay at home and let a website take your order. People feel better knowing their hard-earned dollars are staying in their own community, and will benefit everybody, when they shop locally.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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