As the nation’s supply chain crisis continues, here are two pieces of advice as the holiday season approaches: Shop early, shop local.

Here’s why: Imported products are backlogged at choke points in places like Long Beach, Calif., and New York City. National news programs highlight the problem, showing ships that have been waiting weeks to unload their massive cargo – sometimes with more than 10,000 containers per ship, and each container the size of a semi truck trailer.

The cause isn’t a shortage of goods, but quite the opposite. During the pandemic, people didn’t buy as much as they usually do; as the pandemic has eased, demand has grown substantially.

It’s created a great influx of imported goods, but a worker shortage – and especially in the trucking industry – has caused a glitch in the transportation network. The approaching holiday shopping season has exacerbated the problem.

Now, many are urging shoppers to get out and do their holiday shopping sooner rather than later. While they’re at it, they should consider local products and businesses rather than focusing on online retailers.

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Why? Because online retailers might have more issues delivering the goods on time, but also, local retailers could use the boost after many endured a year of reduced sales during the pandemic.

Last week, a letter arrived at the Grand Forks Herald from a reader passing on a short article published years ago, urging residents to shop in the northeast North Dakota community of Northwood. The newspaper from which it was clipped wasn’t identified, but it likely was either a Northwood publication or possibly the Herald itself. Judging from the style of an ad on its backside and the obvious age of the paper upon which it’s printed, it likely comes from the 1940s-50s or before.

Its title is “I buy in Northwood.” And while it originally was published decades before we relied so heavily on imports, before the advent of internet retailers and before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted business worldwide, its words seem especially fitting as the supply chain backlog creates this new crisis.

It’s presented here in its entirety:

“I buy in Northwood because my interests are here.

“Because I want to see the goods.

“Because here I live and here I hope to die.

“Because the man I buy from stands back of the goods.

“Because the man I buy from pays his part of town, county and state taxes.

“Because every dollar I spend at home works for the community in which I live.

“Because the community good is enough to buy in.

“Because the man I buy from helps support my school, my lodge, my church, my home.

“Because when ill luck, misfortune or bereavement come, the man I buy from is here with his kindly greeting, his words of cheer and his pocketbook if need be.”