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By Tristan Lewis - May 20, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — As vaccines continue to roll out and the end of the pandemic is in sight, local businesses are still in need of community support. 

"We got businesses that are trying to stay alive," said Idaho Senator Jim Risch. "Certainly, there are businesses that are trying to get back up and running again."

To help, Risch and the Idaho Department of Commerce will put on the second annual Support Local Gems Initiative on Friday. It will serve as an all-day event to support Idaho small businesses as they come off a year of significant challenges. 

"Small business is the face of the community," said Dan Balluff, the owner of Boise's City Peanut Store. "We represent the culture and the values of Boise and Idaho." 

Balluff, like many small business owners, had a tough go-around in 2020. He said his store's first three quarters were down quite a bit compared to years before. He relied on support from customers in the community and other businesses around Boise. 

"Boise is such a collaboration town," Balluff said. "We don't spend a lot of time competing with each other, we spend a lot of time trying to help each other out."

Many businesses in downtown Boise helped each other out whenever they could. Balluff said there was cross-promotion and some restaurants added other stores' products to their menu. Some businesses even shared employees as times got tough throughout the year. 

"The last quarter came through for us and we broke even with the year before practically," Balluff said. "It really helped us out or else we would have been in bad shape." 

While City Peanut Shop looks to be on an upward trend, other local businesses are still dealing with side effects from the pandemic. 

Risch urges Idahoans to get out Friday and visit a local mom-and-pop shop or restaurant. The Support Local Gems initiative outlines ways people can help are buying products from stores, dining at restaurants, buying gift cards, writing a positive review online and more. 

Even stopping in and thanking a local store can go a long way. 

"Because, as with a lot of things life, when they're gone, you don't realize how much you miss them until they are gone," Risch said.

Although Friday is the initiative, business owners and Risch people make an effort to support local businesses every week.

To read the story on the KTVB website, click here