Bill Rubin

At least one elusive Grinch in the St. Croix Valley was puzzled to see his likeness on display in Big Box retail stores on the first weekend of October. Inside the Big Box, the Grinch action figure was joined by the Jolly Old Elf, a reindeer named Rudolph, a beagle named Snoopy, a Nutcracker Soldier, and a family of snow people, formerly referred to as snowmen (women). All were there a full month (28 days) before Halloween. The Grinch was particularly disappointed because leaves and pine needles were holding tight to branches and Halloween costumes were still marked at full price.

Along came Halloween and a time change, which gave the forward-thinking Big Boxes one additional hour to usher in even more holiday surprises. Trees, mangers, lights, wreaths, cards, and ceramic villages all awaited early bird consumers. Poof. By November 2nd, there was little or no trace that Halloween 2020 ever occurred, although this celebration enjoyed a strong run going back to mid-August arrivals at the same Big Box locales. Grinch missed out on the blowout prices on costumes. Who needs another ill-fitting likeness anyway?

Before there are mad dashes to the regional malls or online cyber deals, Mr. Grinch is hoping for a safe, two-dessert Thanksgiving on November 26th. Appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control shall be observed. There’s plenty of time for a bumper-to-bumper shopping experience at malls or the point-and-click online experience according to our antagonist, Grinch.

Rest assured, Grinch will venture out for holiday shopping. It may start and end in Whoville. What? Grinch is a hometown booster it seems. First conceived in 2010, an event called Small Business Saturday is a national promotion relying on local supporters to encourage residents to shop in their respective communities. Amateur historians and economists like Grinch recall that in 2010 the world was mired in a deep economic decline, sometimes referred to as The Great Recession. Small Business Saturday worked in its inaugural year and continues to gain momentum.

Shopping ‘small’ makes a whopping impact. Local spending in the U.S. on Small Business Saturday last year was estimated at $19.6 billion, with a ‘b’. And with a global pandemic front and center in 2020, the need to support local shops is imperative. In short, fewer businesses on most main streets are opening or are staying open.

Small businesses and retailers are the foundation of successful, vibrant communities. Through grit and determination, they find ways to persevere. The neighborhood deli, bar and grill, yoga studio, bakery, coffee shop, and art loft all could use an extra purchase. Choose takeout, gift cards, cash, or the same-as-cash chamber bucks option. One study says for every dollar spent at a small business means approximately 67 cents stays in the local community.

For holiday shopping and year-round shopping in the St. Croix Valley, join the new hometown booster Mr. Grinch and experience it locally.

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