For many, the Friday after Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. During this time, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements about the deals we could receive if we shop online. While there is no denying that many consumers benefit from the competitive pricing and wide selections offered by online merchants, those benefits come at a cost, and too often that burden falls on our communities.

We are blessed with many great, local retailers here in northwest Missouri. These are our friends, family members and people we know right here in our own communities. They have taken the risks of opening businesses and found whatever level of success they currently enjoy. Unfortunately, I believe the ongoing pandemic has forced too many small businesses throughout our part of the state to close their doors. This holiday season is immensely critical to those businesses that are still alive.

This concept of shopping locally has been taken a step further by our lieutenant governor, who promotes 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 order your Christmas gifts online. From where I stand, people feel better knowing their hard-earned dollars are staying in their own community, and will benefit everyone when they shop locally. It does not have to be a large purchase. A gift card for a friend can be enough not only to show that person you care, but also to show your neighbor you care whether or not he and his wife will still have a business to run next week and the week after.

Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, represents District 12 in the Missouri Senate. His constituency includes part of Clay County, including Kearney. Hegeman can be reached at (573) 751-1415 or dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov.

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