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Ava Thomas: Shopping local pays big dividends
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Ava Thomas: Shopping local pays big dividends

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It’s about 3½ miles, the trail around the lake where I live. Paving was completed this spring just in time to enjoy gorgeous sunrises, families of deer and sometimes the occasional cranky goose protecting his turf along the bank. Working from home when the pandemic hit made those brisk morning walks around the lake possible.

It was late April when I noticed all the cardboard boxes. You’ve seen them, too. The ones with the smile on them — yes, the Amazon boxes. It was garbage day, and they were everywhere. By then, it had been a couple of years since cardboard was banned from landfills and required to be recycled. Still, I’d never seen so many boxes, some stacked around recycling bins that were overflowing.

It made sense. As we all hunkered down in quarantine, our shopping habits changed. The questions I pondered were whether this change would be permanent and what impact it would have on our local brick-and-mortar stores.

Eight months into the pandemic, we know the answer.

Ava Thomas

Ava Thomas

The Journal Star has been covering the impact COVID-19 has had on local small businesses. Many haven’t survived and those that have are reporting anywhere from 50% to 90% loss in sales. Business owners have had to let employees go, cut hours and dip into their life savings to stay afloat. They’ve shared their attempts to adapt and evolve during this challenging time.

It’s never been clearer. Locally owned small businesses need our community’s support now more than ever. If we don’t support them now, many of them will not be here next year.

The Lincoln Journal Star is committed to doing our part by launching the “Shop Local Pledge.” We’re asking each and every member of our community to take the pledge to shop local this holiday season. Show your commitment to supporting local businesses by completing the pledge at: When you take the pledge to shop local, you’ll be eligible to win a basket of gift cards and goodies from participating local merchants. Be sure to spread the word and encourage others to take the pledge using the hashtag #PledgeLocalLNK.

shop local logo

Additionally, in support of our local small, women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses, Union Bank, the Lincoln Community Foundation, Ameritas, Nelnet/Allo, Hudl, Speedway Properties, Olsson, Runza, Schaefer’s, Home Real Estate and Woods Bros Realty are joining the Journal Star to underwrite the cost of marketing campaigns for a number of small businesses during this holiday season. In a season of gratitude, we’re so grateful for the investment these businesses are helping us make in the businesses that form the foundation and unique character of our community and our economy.

Please show your support for Lincoln’s local small businesses by taking the Shop Local Pledge.

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Ava Thomas is president and publisher of the Lincoln Journal Star.

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