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BOONE — In an effort to raise support for a wide variety of local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce has created Shop Local Saturdays, the first of which is set to take place on Saturday, April 18.

The chamber announced the supportive effort on Monday, April 13, as a way to increase awareness of the power and impact of making purchases from locally owned businesses.

“This is a time where local support of our area businesses can help them survive these unprecedented circumstances,” said Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Jackson. “Many businesses had to shut their doors to walk-in traffic to comply with the stay-at-home order, and they are working hard to adapt toward new ways of serving customers. These are the unique shops, bed and breakfasts and hotels, restaurants and vendors that bring people to our area and drive our economy when we are flourishing. Shop Local Saturdays present our local residents an opportunity to reciprocate loyalty by intentionally spending dollars in a way that supports your neighbor.”

“Our hope is by creating awareness around a marketable series of events, we are reminding people these businesses are still operating and they need our support each and every day in order to get through these challenges,” Jackson said.

Additional dates for Shop Local Saturdays will fall on the third Saturday of each month through the end of 2020.

Community members are encouraged to creatively make local purchases across the multitude of retail, hospitality and service industries in the High Country. Many businesses impacted by COVID-19-related closures still offer online shopping and gift card purchases, and intentional support can help ensure future viability.

Businesses operating under the current North Carolina stay-at-home order are altering operations to implement social distancing standards to serve customers. Continued support of these locations help keep essential dollars in the High Country at a time where businesses are adjusting to changes in customer volume.

Customers are encouraged to share pictures of purchases by using the hashtag #KeepBooneHealthy and tag the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce in any social media posts.

More resources for businesses, including a survey regarding ways customers can interact, can be found online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7YJRJVZ.

“One of the silver linings of our new reality is that people are paying more attention to the impact of shopping local. When you see the smile on the face of someone you’ve helped support by just being intentional with your decisions, it’s easy to see the positive impact of local purchase decisions. Whether it happens on a Saturday, or any other day, changing our patterns to support these businesses will help keep our community strong as we move toward our time to rebound,” said Jackson.

With questions, contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at (828) 264-2225 or email david@boonechamber.com.

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