Earlier this year, I was approached about doing a podcast to talk about business issues in Lincoln to provide business owners a vehicle to reach them with issues that was quick and to the point and in a medium to make it easier for them to engage. Thus, Lincoln Business Beat was born. Over the past several months we have discussed several issues impacting business – workforce, inflation, taxes, elections, local budgets, streets, and other pertinent topics for business. Additionally, we have hosted guests to share things their business is doing to recruit and retain workforce. Most recently we have been discussing the importance of shopping local and supporting local businesses.

Local businesses are the lifeblood of a community. Our local businesses are the ones employing our friends and neighbors. When our local organizations are looking for support, the local businesses are who step up to be supportive. My favorite shopping day of the year is Small Business Saturday! I spend my time going to our local stores and buying gifts for family and friends. It would be easy for me to simply go online and do all my shopping for the holidays and be done in minutes. Yet each year, on that Saturday following Thanksgiving I like to be out supporting local businesses. I love walking into these stores and boutiques to support their businesses, which give so much back to our community.

Over the years of my shopping local, I have developed relationships with business owners and staff who always know what I am looking for and they are able to make great recommendations. Shopping for my wife and daughters is fun (I am not one who would classify shopping as fun normally) when the store staff and owners are able to show me right to the newest items and which family member should be getting which gift. They also know all the right sizes, which makes returning items rare (and reduces stress on both me and the gift recipient because I know not too many people enjoy the hassle of returning a gift). I find great joy spending money in our local community at locally owned businesses over the holidays.

By shopping local and supporting our local businesses, we are essentially giving back to those businesses who give so much in our community. When you are at an activity of your children, look around and see how many on-line retailers are sponsors? My guess is that none of the sponsors of those activities are anything other than our local businesses. Shopping this holiday season can be very gratifying by supporting our local businesses. If you need help finding something this holiday season, go to our website, www.liba.org and click the members tab to search for all your local shopping needs. I am confident you will be pleased by the service and products you can buy right here in Lincoln.

As we embark on the last stretch until Christmas, I urge you to get out and support our local businesses. Buying gifts from these local businesses or giving gift cards to your favorite local business keeps our local economy running here in Lincoln and Lancaster County. These businesses are the ones who keep our community moving forward. These businesses constantly step up to make sure our community prospers. These are the businesses who are supporting local. During the pandemic these businesses have “paid it forward” in our community and our duty is to pay it back to them. Enjoy shopping local this holiday season. My best wishes to you and your family for a blessed holiday season.