Record editorial: Support small businesses this holiday season
One of the primary worries among Parkites, and even some visitors who have been coming to Park City for years, is that the local charm that has always defined our town is fading away.
The concern is justified. It’s apparent in myriad ways that Park City isn’t the same place it was 30, 20, 10 or even five years ago. Our evolution from being a funky ski town to having a more corporate vibe began even prior to the 2002 Olympics, but the pace of the change has seemed to quicken in recent years, particularly following the ownership changes at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort.
Fortunately, there’s one action Parkites and visitors can take without much effort to help Park City retain a significant element of what makes it unique: shopping local.
For all the evolution that has occurred in Park City over the years, we are fortunate to still have a plethora of small businesses that offer goods and experiences that patrons aren’t likely to find in other ski towns in the West. And as long as they survive, they’ll continue to imbue our town with an atmosphere that can’t be recreated anywhere else.
The challenges small businesses face have seldom been greater, however. In addition to rent costs that have risen over time, they’re continuing to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, including a worker shortage that has left most employers in Park City searching for additional help.
The margins of error for small businesses, meanwhile, are small. Few are equipped to handle long stretches of being in the red, and they aren’t cushioned by the deep pockets that their brand-name and big-box competitors boast.
Parkites, then, have a critical role to play. In choosing to spend money at small businesses — which are owned by our friends and neighbors rather than people in board rooms across the country — we can help ensure they remain such a large part of what Park City is all about.
And what better time to provide a boost to them than during the holidays? Parkites hopefully patronized some of their favorite ones over the weekend on Small Business Saturday, but our support ought not be confined to a single day.
True, it can be easy to fire up Amazon or Etsy and cross gifts off the shopping list with a few clicks of the mouse, cup of coffee or glass of wine in hand. But there’s nothing unique about items that can be easily found online.
Find a boutique and buy your loved ones one-of-a-kind gifts that have meaning behind them. Or treat someone special to a night out at a local restaurant. In short, make a memory instead of stuffing items into an online shopping cart and lining the bank accounts of corporations.
Our town’s small businesses need us. Step up for them this holiday season, and in doing so, help keep Park City’s charm alive.
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