Shop Local Saturday yields results

By Ray Scherer

Numerous Hermann businesses contributed to strengthening the local economy over the weekend by joining in Shop Local Saturday.

The Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce traditionally joins in the national campaign that helps draw attention to community merchants and their intrinsic role in helping develop a tax base that aids growth. Organizers state that residents and tourists benefit from patronizing the businesses, both during and beyond the holidays.

Two of the businesses told the Advertiser-Courier that shopping locally is important to their livelihood and in the grand scheme makes perfect sense for a healthy business community.

John and Mae Wilding -- of Red Barn Crafts & Antiques and the Red Barn Frame Shop -- called the promotion essential, especially in light of the consequences from the pandemic.

John Wilding said shoppers can be proactive by first meeting with merchants, to let them know of their particular interests and needs.

"At this time of year, you need to think of a lot of factors," he said, representing the couple's businesses and fellow shop owners.

Mae Wilding said both shops have certainly been hurt by the virus, with adjustments that allow a booth-like setting in the frame shop this holiday season due to the cancellation of Hermann's festivals.

Residents who have spent the pandemic going through family belongings and keepsakes have greatly assisted Red Barn, with many Hermannites deciding not to take their framing business out of town.

"They've done a lot of housecleaning," said John. That means heirlooms are being brought to the Wildings for suggestions at ensuring the family memories last indefinitely.

A number of residents never expected to discover a frame shop in the community, the couple stated, along with the level of personal service.

Elsewhere in Hermann, Strassner Furniture is among many other merchants in agreement that it's best to put the accent on community first.

"It's important to shop local, because small businesses are struggling," said Janet Strassner.

She said the furniture store had already taken upon itself to emphasize shopping locally for several years even before partnering with the chamber. It's too important to the economy to think otherwise, she added. And that's what many people may not completely understand.

"All of the small businesses, that's what generates the sales tax (revenue)," Strassner said. "What a big difference every little sale makes."

The customers are key to making that transformative impact, she concluded.