LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – It’s no secret COVID-19 is changing the way people shop. As First News at Nine’s David LaClair reports, one community is making an extra effort to help local businesses get customers.
2020 has been a hard year for business owners large and small. Tanner Clausen, Promotions Committee Chair with La Crosse Downtown Mainstreet has seen the toll the pandemic has taken on smaller, local shops.
Clausen said, “What normally would be a busy shopping season for our local businesses just hasn’t.”
That’s what sparked the idea for the “Shop Small Sunday initiative” and the Shop Local Pledge.
“We decided to join with nine other sponsors in the area, and every Sunday if you shop in a local downtown district in La Crosse County, we have sponsors that are matching up to 50 percent of the money raised,” said Clausen.
It’s this kind of innovation that keeps businesses like Larson’s General open.
Joshua Larson, Co-owner of Larson’s General said, “We have things that are made here in
La Crosse less than a mile away, we make some of our own products here in-house.”
Clausen said, “It is easy to go to a big-box store or shop on amazon, but you don’t really know where your money is going.”
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“Statistically, a much higher percentage of that money stays within the community. My wife and I live about a mile and a half away from the store, our kids go to school here,” said Larson.
The shop small Sunday initiative started mid-November and runs through December 27. Every dollar spent can be stretched beyond your purchase.
Clausen said, “All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt, go to our website and you’ll see the button that says “upload receipt”, and every Sunday that money will be matched by our corporate sponsors.”
50 percent of the money raised will be used to award grants to La Crosse area businesses. Clausen and Larson say the effort will help these businesses thrive.
“It just gives people more of a reason to shop when they can get a variety of different things and it’s not a specialty stop,” said Larson.
When we get out of this pandemic, then we’ll have all these businesses still open and that’s what we hope for.
More info about the initiative can be found on our website.
In La Crosse, David LaClair, First News at Nine.