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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stresses shopping local during holiday season

Lana's Boutique in Kalamazoo.jpg
Lana's Boutique in Kalamazoo is one of many Michigan business owners trying to figure out how to recoup money lost from the pandemic, during the holiday season. (WWMT/Tarvarious Haywood)

While the business owners said they understand the measures in place are to protect everyone, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday always bring big money for businesses, which has been much anticipated after losing thousands of dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she recently wrote a letter the federal government pushing for a COVID-19 relief bill that would help out businesses like Lana’s Boutique on the Kalamazoo Mall. Whitmer said some businesses may not make it without the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

“It been a challenge and we are doing our best to power through,” Lana Hoffman, owner of Lana’s Boutique, said.

Hoffman was one of many Michigan business owners trying to figure out how to recoup money lost from the pandemic, during the holiday season.

“We also offer curbside pickup, and we offer delivery within five miles, shipping and Facetime appointments and so we are really trying to make it easy and accommodate everyone with this during this hard time,” said Hoffman.

According to Adobe Analytics, during Black Friday in 2019, businesses nationwide racked up more than $7 billion.

But during with limited customers allowed in stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, local business owners don’t know what to expect.

Whitmer said Michigan Republican leaders did not sign the letter to the federal government, pushing a relief bill that would help millions of everyday people and business owners in Michigan. She said there would need to be collaborative effort to rebound the Michigan economy.

“Federal support was essential to fight the virus in the spring and stabilize the economy, now during the worst surge that we have seen since the start, states need more support to protect families, workers, businesses,” Whitmer said.

Kalamazoo shoppers said family traditions, like camping out on Black Friday and shopping on Small Business Saturday, are gone.

Instead, millions of Americans are turning their attention online.

“We will probably be doing a lot online. Should we shop online or in the store? Shop online. Yeah, shopping online and probably try to find local stuff if we can,’’ Sarah and Caleb Horton said.

Hoffman said local businesses need people more than ever.

“If you want to see your favorite businesses stay in business, then you really got to get out and support them and anything you do is so much appreciated,” Hoffman said.

Whitmer also stressed support for local businesses during this crisis.

The dollars you spend could be the difference between sinking and swimming for your favorite local shop.