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By Emily Blume - May 21, 2021

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho. – Local businesses are the backbone of communities and many are just getting back on their feet after a year of hardship. For the 2nd year in a row, Idahoans are encouraged to support local businesses either by shopping or dining, locally. Many downtown businesses are offering specials to their shoppers, including Art Spirit Gallery, as a way to recognize the day.

Marcy McKinney is visiting from Pennsylvania and told us, “It’s supporting local livelihood and keeping the community alive.” She spent the day not only enjoying every ounce of her vacation but also supporting our community each step of the way. She added, “It’s important to support local businesses anywhere you go.”

Sen. James Risch and the Idaho Department of Commerce started Support Local Gems day in 2020 to encourage Idahoans to support local businesses by shopping, dining, or even leaving a strong review online.

“We are thrilled to have this as a local business to help us come back and reconnect with our buyers and a lot of our new local buyers,” said Blair Williams, owner of Art Spirit Gallery in downtown Coeur d’Alene. She understands the importance of local business as both a business owner and resident.

She said, “It’s important to keep my community vibrant and alive. My employees paid. Their rents paid, and all my fellow businesses in our district alive and thriving.” It’s estimated that for every dollar spent locally, eight more go back into the community. “That’s a pretty big return on your investment,” said Williams.

The value of shopping locally can go beyond just business. Tiffany Jacklin, owner of Blue Grass Baby Boutique, said, “I think if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how important human connection is and there is really no replacement for it.”

Jacklin opened Blue Grass Baby Boutique in the middle of the pandemic. She said, “Our goal is to source the highest quality organic fabrics and materials for moms and babies.” She believes shopping small creates one more opportunity to make those connections.

Williams said, “It’s everything to be alive again and be open.”

If you’d like to support local businesses, you can even do so from the comfort of your own couch. Art Spirit Gallery is online here and Blue Grass Baby Boutique is online here.

To read the story on the KXLY website, click here