Small businesses say to shop local in La Crosse during the holidays

LA CROSSE (Wisconsin) — Some businesses say instead of looking at big chains for gifts, it’s more important than ever to shop locally, especially on Small Business Saturday.

14 new businesses have opened up in La Crosse’s downtown area during the pandemic after receiving a $10,000 grant from the state. The grant was given to businesses that took over vacant storefronts in Main Street areas.

“The catalyst for this downtown explosion of new entrepreneurship is the Governor’s bounce back program,” said Terry Bauer, the executive director of Downtown Main St.

Wisconsin Clothing Company is one of the stores to benefit from the grant.

“It helped a lot with getting the space together and being able to employ,” said store manager Joel Fawcett.

And now, for the holidays, Governor Tony Evers is launching a Shop Small Wisconsin initiative.

“[It’s] a season long opportunity to remind Wisconsinites to shop local and support our main street businesses through the holiday season.” said Evers.

Shopping locally makes all the difference for some small businesses. For Wisconsin Clothing Company, it allows them to continue to design and print their apparel in Wisconsin.

“It’s really important because we are the fabric of the community,” said Fawcett. “We employ, we donate to local teams, we donate to charities.”

Supporting small businesses can also help people avoid shipping delays and product shortages while keeping a majority of the profit within the community.

“Shopping downtown is a good resolution to that because you can stop into our stores and buy the products right here and get your shopping done and the money stays right here in the community,” said Bauer.

Bauer says the grant has allowed a variety of businesses to open up, giving La Crosse a chance to diversify with the opening of restaurants Mexcal and India Curry House and Bar. The Shop Small Initiative gives the people the opportunity to shop past Small Businesses Saturday and into the holiday season.