Opinion | Show Gratitude: Say Thank You to Local Businesses

In the third issue of a four-part series, Opinions contributor Stella Logsdon expresses her gratitude.

Everyone has their favorite local stores. Now is the time to show up for them.

My parents opened La Mie Bakery in Des Moines in 2002. The bakery opened in a small strip mall unit near Roosevelt High School, where it remains today. I was born a year later, which means there hasn’t been a period in my life where La Mie hasn’t been relevant.

I remember my sister and I would play with leftover dough and toss our own baked goods into the ovens when no one was looking. We would run around the backyard and play pretend or take over the espresso bar and make ourselves hot chocolates after school.

As I got older, my preteen angst got the better of me and I wished my parents had “normal” jobs. I remember feeling ashamed of the bakery, and hating the fact that it was somehow always a factor that kept me away from my friends and their families. I continued to grow and get out of this phase.

When the nation was placed on lockdown in March 2020, I saw fear in a way I hadn’t seen before. My parents were suddenly placed in conditions they were not prepared for, and the direct connection between the stability of the business and the well-being of our family became incredibly apparent to me.

At this moment, everything changed.

La Mie is a family business, and that doesn’t just include my family. The bakery’s employees and their families have been in business for years, creating a tight-knit group of people that we stand to lose.

The National Library of Medicine reported that between the months of February and April 2020, the number of active business owners in the US plummeted by 3.3 million, or 22 percent.

My family’s business, along with other local businesses across the country, struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But COVID-19 has changed my attitude in both ownership and membership towards local businesses. For a while, I took the success and stability of my family’s bakery for granted.

Now that I’m past this period, I’ve gained a new perspective on local businesses. What previously seemed so personal to me became something I knew was a shared experience. Many families like mine dedicate their lives to the businesses they have created. These people stand behind the cash register and greet their customers every morning and lock up the store every night.

Getting out on the other side of the economic and social challenges exacerbated by COVID-19 is no small feat. That being said, it is very important not to take these places for granted or assume that they will always be around. Frankly, they won’t. As members of the community, it’s up to us to support these businesses and the people behind them.

To the local business owners, I want to express my gratitude for your dedication to both your trade and your community. Supporting these business owners and the goods and services they provide has never been more important, and I encourage you to consider choosing locations and introducing yourself to our community.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations with which the author may be involved.

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