LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The urging of health officials to stay at home means more of us are shopping online. That clicking means less clanging in the cash registers of local stores. First News at Nine’s David LaClair takes a look at the effort to let you shop local while staying safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on small businesses, as President Nick Roush of the North La Crosse Business Association knows too well.
“The losses to date since the pandemic began, in just La Crosse County, have been in excess of $100 million,” said Roush
That loss has a trickle-down many may not realize exists says Jake Erickson of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse.
Jake Erickson, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse said, “Our opportunities for kids to get mental health services, to know where their next meal is coming from, to play a sport is reliant on local dollars.”
That sense of community was the key point at Thursday’s kickoff of the “Get on Living Safely” campaign, as businesses stressed the importance of shopping local, safely.
Many people are experiencing pandemic fatigue and want to think COVID-19 is all over, but local businesses still struggle including root down yoga studio, which has been closed since March.
Roush said, “We’ve done our best to pivot with the things we can, but it got to the point where you can’t do hot yoga with a mask on.”
Some businesses, however, have found ways to improvise through means of innovation, as Misty Lown also pointed out.
Misty Lown, Owner of Misty’s Dance Unlimited, said, “Throughout the summer, we stepped back safely once step at a time into in-person services, and now we are offering not only in-person services safely, and by safe I mean less than one percent of COVID, but also for those who are not sure if they’re ready to come back we have live stream services.”
That idea of innovation is just what Roush says is crucial to keep local business thriving.
“We, I think, live from a compassionate and caring about our community place and we do all we can to help our neighbors and friends,” said Roush.
Campaign signage will start going up next month and runs throughout the holiday season.
In La Crosse, David LaClair, First News at Nine.