This year has been tough on everyone. From students to baristas, small business owners to city staff, it is without a doubt one of the toughest years in memory for many of us.

It is times like these that we need to remember how important it is to support each other. This goes for supporting local businesses, our hard -working public works employees, and our health care workers, who are enduring countless hours caring for our community.

It is with this support that I want to remind everyone of how valuable a local dollar can be. We all see the posters of “Small Business Saturday” and know how important it is to continue to support your neighbor and their local businesses, but this shouldn’t be something that we all put forth the effort for one single day on, and we really shouldn’t do it simply as an excuse because this pandemic is putting extra strain on our local economy. It should be part of our everyday routine because it is what leads us all back to our universal north star, which is community.

This sense of community is what allows us to have local businesses that sell shoes while also supporting local students in the school system; buying your groceries locally because you see the owner of that store out during events supporting local charities; and even the restaurant down the street that creates 100 new ideas on how to engage with their customers in the span of a month and still is smiling when you walk in to pick up your to-go orders.

If this pandemic has shown us one thing, it’s the importance of our community’s drive, through curbside pick-ups at the drop of a hat, or even local delivery within hours of you placing the order.

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If you know me, you know how proud I am of the neighbors that I have downtown and how hardworking each and every one of them are with their wonderful ideas of how to support our community, even during a pandemic. What is much more important than the footprint of downtown is your neighbors, and how much you should want to see them succeed. The only way they can succeed is with your support.

So before you click "add to cart" on that next Amazon purchase, remember that your neighbors’ bills aren’t supported by sending money elsewhere; they see it when you purchase from their business. Your neighbor feels the impact when you purchase from them. The value of a local dollar spent is $0.85 back into our community. This means that the dollar stretches throughout and makes each of our lives better.

This isn’t a plea or a demand, this is just me reminding you that the care you feel for your neighbor can be supported in many ways – a thank you letter, a simple text telling each other how much you appreciate one another, or sometimes, just buying a gift card for a friend.

So for this holiday season and beyond, remember your neighbor.

Alexander Blue Weber is director of the Downtown Development Association, Grand Forks.