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'Look Local First' to Play Your Part in Economic Recovery

I read a great quote online recently, attributed to author Dave Hollis: “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

Getting back to normal is going to feel good in a lot of ways. I can’t wait to get back to work in my real office, visit in-person with friends, enjoy a little shopping, and sit in my family’s regular pew on Sunday morning. And did I mention go out for supper? A meal that I didn’t have to cook – or clean up – sounds perfect right about now.

Mr. Hollis has an excellent point, though, about using this uncertain and uncomfortable time to evaluate our priorities. Discomfort can be a wonderful catalyst for growth, after all. What are some parts of “normal” that perhaps aren’t worth rushing back to? What are some ways we can create a “new normal” that’s even better?

I’ve been thinking a lot about our economic recovery from COVID-19 and what it will take to get things rolling again. I don’t know exactly how it will all play out, but I do know that supporting local business is going to be the name of the game.

The Clark Chamber of Commerce has a great idea with its “Gift Card Palooza” taking place this Friday. Purchasing gift cards for local businesses – whether to spend yourself or to give as gifts – is a wonderful way to infuse some much-needed cash into our economy. Some national experts are even calling gift cards the “war bonds” of today’s COVID-19 crisis. Buying gift cards can be a great way to tangibly demonstrate your support for your favorite local businesses.

Long-term, our economic recovery is going to require some additional concentration. Habits are built over time, as we all know. Each one of us is probably guilty, to one degree or another, of not always looking local first. How often do we jump online to place an order or buzz over to Watertown to run errands? As social distancing begins to lift, let’s not rush back to our habits of thinking bigger is necessarily better.

If doing business locally is already part of your “normal,” then double-down and stick with it. If pre-COVID you typically headed to a bigger town or online for what you needed, then now is a perfect time to consider a “new normal” of looking local first.

If you can purchase it, rent it, order it, repair it, contract it, or hire it in Clark County, please do so. By getting in the habit of “looking local first,” we can all play a positive role in both the short- and long-term economic recovery from COVID-19.

About the Author: Kristin Brekke Vandersnick is the Executive Director of Choose Clark County, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to promoting business growth, increasing housing opportunities, and enhancing the quality of life for all residents in Clark County, South Dakota. Learn more at

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