It’s Friday, folks! We’ve made it to the weekend. Thinking about what you’ll do in the days ahead? Anxious to get out of the house safely, but not sure where to go? Think local. Now is the perfect time to explore your neighborhood. Take a stroll downtown. Browse local shops. Get dinner from a local eatery. 

Right now, more than ever, small businesses need your support. The lull in January, as the fanfare of the holidays fade and winter sets in, can be tough for retailers. This is especially true this year, given the year we all had in 2020. 

Small businesses are essential to the fabric of our communities – we all need businesses to thrive so our communities can thrive. Your loyal support to the shops and restaurants in your town means so much. 

There are so many great perks that automatically come when you shop local. 

Great customer service is the first that comes to mind. You know with certainty that you’ll interact with a person…even if social distancing and masks are required. Staff are friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and happy to help you find what you’re looking for. Small business owners know how important their customers are – they want to make sure they meet your needs, keep you happy, and keep you coming back! When you frequent local shops, you develop a relationship with the staff. This can be great for special orders, exclusive events and sales, and the overall shopping experience. In a time when so much is done online, it’s nice to know you can count on someone to help you out. 

Knowledgeable staff. Not only is the staff at local shops friendly and helpful, but they are also knowledgeable about what they are selling. Staff know the products, so they can easily answer questions, offer recommendations, and can help guide you when you’re not exactly sure what it is you might want. Local employees can help answer your questions right there, in real time. 

Unique products. Another perk when you shop local is finding great, distinctive items. While local shops often have limited supply of certain items, you can find cool products that you may not be able to get elsewhere. You’ll often find quality, handmade or handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces. Here at Ashley’s Pastries, you can find special recipes and delicious treats you can’t find in big box stores. Sand tarts, anyone? 

Keeping customers comfortable. Now, more than ever, local shops are being adaptive, flexible and creative to help customers feel safe and have a comfortable shopping experience. Businesses are offering deliveries and curbside pickup to help make things as contactless as possible. Other shops are getting creative by offering appointment-only or FaceTime shopping. Some stores have limited the number of customers inside at once to make sure everyone is safe. 

As always, we are grateful for you and for your continued support of our family-owned, local bakery. We couldn’t do this without you, and that’s the same sentiment of all the local businesses here in this community. When you’re thinking of a place to go or a place to eat or a place to shop, think local first.