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Hastings small businesses encouraged by mayor’s shop small challenge

Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte is challenging people to spend more locally for holiday shopping.
Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte is challenging people to spend more locally for holiday shopping.(KSNB)
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:42 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte is challenging residents to spend even more money than normal at small businesses this year and the businesses are encouraged by the response. The mayor created the challenge because a lot of the small stores have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“There are several businesses that are seeing about a 50 percent decrease in revenue over the past couple weeks,: Mayor Stutte said. “So that’s concerning as you head into the holiday season which is usually their heaviest revenue time of year.”

He is asking people to spend $1.5 million more than they normally do during the holiday season. Year over year there has been a decrease in local spending. It is partly due to some stores leaving town and online shopping. The mayor wants to make sure the local businesses can survive the pandemic.

“These retailers that we have are very important for our economy. They employ a lot of people and they provide a lot of services for us here locally and we’ve got a great community,” Mayor Stutte said.

Gary Michael’s Clothiers is a staple of downtown Hastings. They have had to deal with revenue setbacks all year since the pandemic began in March.

“That was in the height of prom and wedding seasons and that really hit us hard when there were no proms,” Co-Owner Tammy Valentine said. “Pretty much our proms help pay for our spring merchandise so we were in a bit of a bind there.”

They said online shopping does hurt them and they have safety precautions in place so people can feel comfortable coming into the shop.

“A lot of our customers are very loyal to us and they like to help patronize us so they know that we will be here for them in the future,” Valentine said.

People can log their purchases from the small businesses at shophastings.org so the city can keep track of how close they are to the $1.5 million goal.

If people are still concerned about coming into the physical store, they can buy gift cards or find other ways to support the small businesses this holiday season.

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