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Put Local On Your List

These past few months of quarantine and social distancing have certainly changed our daily lives, haven’t they? My Google calendar, which ordinarily chimes several times a day with reminders for activities or meetings, has been unusually quiet.

In addition to staying home more, we’ve all had to plan ahead more before going out. With businesses temporarily closed, limiting access, or offering drive-up only, the question of “what do I need” becomes more strategic. Running to town less often means thinking ahead to try to get everything you need in one trip.

As I suggested a few weeks ago in this column, now is the perfect time to begin “looking local first.” Before we all run to that big-box store or run to our computers to order from Amazon, let’s slow down and consider if the items on our list are available right here in Clark County. If they are, please give your local businessmen and women the opportunity to earn your patronage.

“But they don’t carry what I need,” you might say. That is sometimes true. Have you considered, though, asking for it to be ordered in and stocked for you?

One of the great things about dealing with a small, independently owned business is their willingness to accommodate. Using a grocery example, I’d be willing to bet that if you don’t see what you need in the aisles of Ken’s or Lake Grocery, they’d be more than happy to order it in for you – especially if it’s something you purchase regularly. No, I’m not going to ask for a weird ingredient that I only need one time for a Pinterest recipe experiment. But yes, I’m sure they’d welcome a request for my daughter’s favorite applesauce pouches or the brand of yogurt I eat every morning.

The same concept applies for other types of businesses: butcher shops, hardware stores, pharmacies, vet clinics, and more. If you don’t see what’s on your list, please ask. You might be surprised what they have available through their suppliers.

Considering local options first might take a little more planning versus the get-everything-in-one-place approach, but the sales tax revenues will be a welcome boost to your hometown economy as it recovers 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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