Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Shoppers support local stores


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Ironwood — Many Black Friday shoppers said they are sensitive to support local stores this holiday season after a tough financial year for small businesses.

“Our goal is to always shop locally,” said Mark Schwanz, owner of the Yooper Girl brand and the former owner of Chelsea’s Corner. “I’m sure in these times it’s just critical to get out and spend dollars locally for the sake of the people that are trying to make a living.”

Anna Suvanto, of Bessemer, said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic it seems more important this year to give people gifts of necessities rather than some of the more “out there” gifts that the online shopping has to offer. She said in years past she would shop some local, but this year it is definitely her primary focus.

“Supporting people here, instead of major box-stores has been kind of nice, because I feel like supporting the local community is really such an important part of who we are when we can’t and we don’t see the tourism coming in as much,” Suvanto said. “It’s nice to be able to give something on a more personal and smaller scale...Now you’re trying to find something that will be more of a help or benefit to your loved ones and your friends when you’re out shopping this year.”

The goal with gift giving this year is to try and give them a “break in the crazy of everything,” she said.

“You want to give gifts that are more of a help or benefit to your loved ones instead of just giving them something you are really just putting a little bit more thought into what you are trying to give everybody,” Suvanto said.

The overall push for shopping locally, by many, is an after effect of the state’s past actions regarding businesses and the pandemic, she said. Buying gift certificates for people to go get their hair done, as they weren’t able to do that previously, is a nice gift for both an individual and a local business.

“It’s important to not only give something different and nice, but to help support the community,” Suvanto said.

This year Suvanto said that she has noticed more lines in places where you don’t normally see them on Black Friday, and at the same time fewer lines at places where they would be expected. She said this makes her feel good to know that people are out and about shopping and trying to stay local as well.

“Really being able to help the mom and pop type store that our community has to offer, that are so unique and well supplied,” Suvanto said.

Charly Loper, the city manager of Bessemer, said that this year has been “incredibly” hard on local business. There is a need to support them and the community this Christmas season, she said.

Barb Adams, who has worked at the Ben Franklin gift shop in Ironwood for 15 years, said the store is anticipating a good turnout and a “busy, busy Christmas season.”

Nanette Paquette, owner of Nanette’s Knits in Wakefield, said that “every year is different and this year is just a weird one.” She said she doesn’t know what to expect this year but is hoping for the best.

“A lot of people are tired of the box-stores so I have been seeing an incline in shopping here,” Paquette said.

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