The Texas Panhandle has seen a large influx of covid-19 cases just in time to coincide with the holiday season. The pandemic will likely impact local businesses as fewer people shop in person in favor of online options. So as we start our holiday shopping we need to remember that those local merchants are our friends, neighbors, and family, and they need our support as COVID-19 chips away at the local economy.
It is no secret that small businesses fight an uphill battle in trying to remain relevant in the era of online giants such as Amazon or Walmart. COVID-19, however, has added a solid layer of ice to that uphill journey causing more trouble for local merchants trying to find a solid footing.
Many argue that it’s a necessary evil, that we’re supposed to be avoiding public gatherings and shopping, which leaves no other option than to buy from Amazon. They’re not wrong. Public health is a huge concern right now and it’s hard to argue the logic of staying home.
One thing remains though, which is the necessity of being able to earn a living in order to purchase food and supplies. We all have that need, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to do it from home, then count your blessings. However, not everyone can do the same.
For many, going to work hasn’t changed during the pandemic. People still work at their job locations. For those that are employed at a large corporation, be it Tyson or Target, there is a sense of security in your income in that large corporations will remain steady in their business.
Local merchants don’t have that security though. Small business owners go to work and need business to prosper or risk failing with no corporate safety net to keep them above water. Many Amarilloans have lost their jobs, while others have seen their hours dwindle. There are already fewer shoppers, in general, this year as people have less money available to spend and are reserving more funds toward necessities. It affects us all one way or another. The best that we can hope to do is ride out the storm together and help each other along the way.
The fact is that we will continue to purchase what we need no matter what happens, but we have a choice of where to buy it. Amazon doesn’t need you, and Target will survive as well. It’s your friends, neighbors, and family that own local businesses who depend on you. Show them a little love this holiday season.