It’s been a difficult couple of years for businesses in general, but it’s been especially hard for the owners of small businesses. Online shopping had already taken a bite out of the bottom line for those small businesses, and then the COVID-19 pandemic made the situation much worse. Across the country, many businesses – small and large - didn’t survive the pandemic, and we’re not immune to that in Minot.
Locally, businesses have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and other economic factors. Supply chain issues have sometimes created bare shelves and half-empty car lots. With businesses struggling, employees have been laid off, with many hesitant to return to work when jobs became available again because of concerns related to the spread of COVID.
Those issues and others surely factored into the growth of online shopping while businesses were facing numerous restrictions and residents everywhere spent considerably more time at home during the pandemic. Yes, I know shopping online is convenient and sometimes necessary to find particular items that simply aren’t available in a local store. I also understand the sentiment of some residents that shopping while sitting on your couch at home is preferable to heading to local businesses.
But the experience of being part of your own community can’t be reproduced through clicking keys on your laptop. In Minot and other communities in North Dakota, there’s a unique and personal shopping journey waiting for you. With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a great time to take advantage of those opportunities.
Strolling through downtown Minot or Dakota Square Mall, decorated in all of their holiday season glory, is a powerful reminder that local businesses can and do provide much of what we need on a regular basis. Your local bookstore, the small clothing boutique owned by your neighbor, the restaurant/bar in an historic Minot building, and countless other stores and shops are just part of the shopping opportunities waiting for you. Despite the economic roller coaster of the past two years, several new establishments have opened their doors in Minot. Many of your favorite spots also continue to call Minot home, and would love to see you again.
The local shopping opportunities are certainly not limited to downtown. Locally owned establishments are everywhere across Minot and other smaller communities in our area. Next time you drive along Broadway, take notice of the businesses you see; many are owned and operated by friends, family, or acquaintances. There’s a role for big box stores that employ Minot residents and national franchise establishments that are owned and operated by local business people. Successful business communities must be diverse, and there is room for establishments of all sizes. Minot is a great example of that dynamic.
Small businesses across Minot play a vital role in boosting Minot’s economy, but more importantly, those small businesses are crucial in solidifying the fabric and spirit of our community. We all know someone who either owns a business or is employed by one of the local establishments that provide a unique shopping experience. Online shopping simply cannot compete with the personal touches and in-person customer service that are part of the unique businesses that thrive in our community.
This holiday season, I hope you continue to support local businesses of all types, in all locations in Minot. A thriving, growing small business community plays an important role in our city’s future. Minot residents have always worked collectively to support one another, in good times and bad. This is another opportunity for all of us to prove that our people are what makes Minot magic.
Sincerely, City Hall
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