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DOWNTOWN: The importance of shopping local

Community residents shopping local are what small business owners need right now. 
The financial impact of COVID-19 remains ongoing for many businesses, however shopping locally can help. Courtney Washburn, director of the Main Street Program, explained that the community coming out to small businesses has made a huge impact. 
“As Main Street, we want to encourage our community to continue to show up, continue to choose local,” she said. “If you have a choice, we want you to choose local.”
Washburn explained that by choosing local, people are not only impacting the business owner, but also the community overall as well. 
“We’ve been really fortunate that our businesses are surviving, but we want to continue to encourage shopping local,” she said. 
Local businesses are also doing their part in the community by following the Tennessee Pledge, doing what they can to keep customers safe and being as accommodating as possible. Additionally, they are grateful to have community support.
“Visiting local businesses right now means more than anything,” exclaimed Sherrie Horne, owner of Cottage Boutique. “We are so appreciative of the support we have received and just want to encourage everyone to consider shopping local businesses first. That’s what keeps us, all of us, open.”
Like Horne, Frankie Bailey, owner of The Coffee Company and Main Street Elizabethton President, shared appreciation for support, and hopes it will continue. 
“I think most of our downtown community has seen a great outpouring of support during these challenging times, so continuing that support is so important and appreciated,” he said. “Gearing into the fall and holiday season, I know all of us would love to see the support continue. Shopping local and with small business in downtown is truly supporting the dreams of seeing our downtown thrive and be a place where people desire to be.”
Washburn shared what she believes is the best part of shopping downtown. 
“The best part is the relationship in our business owners,” she said. “Our business owners really love meeting customers and community members, and it really becomes a community within itself.”
The downtown area consists of unique businesses, from restaurants to vintage shops, for people to see. 
“There’s a little bit of something for everybody,” said Washburn.
During these uncertain times, Washburn explained that supporting local is the best way to help small businesses.
“We really want people to choose local,” she said. “Our downtown businesses are truly responding to customer needs and that has been really encouraging and great to see.”