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Partnership News and Views: The importance of staying local

AMY CLICKNER

As an economic developer, I know that 80% of a region’s growth comes from within. Meaning the retention and expansion of current businesses, plus those entrepreneurs starting businesses make up the bulk of jobs and investment created. In summary, local matters.

Have you ever considered what our community would be like without a local university, healthcare system or airport? Sometimes we don’t think about these assets until we need them. When you or a family member need emergency healthcare, I think we can all agree we are grateful for the incredible services we have here. Many of us are Northern Michigan University graduates, and the same is true with our children. Maybe you are a business owner that hires students and graduates of the university. Do you enjoy the convenience of flying from nearby? I certainly do. Having the choice to fly through Detroit, Chicago or Minneapolis provides us with a wide range of options.

What about the “staycation” concept? I’m sure many of you have been down to lower harbor to ice skate these past few weeks, it reminded me of the many recreational opportunities available to our region. So many communities are not as fortunate.

In order for us to maintain and grow the many local businesses and services we have, we need to support them. Simply keep that in mind when making choices in your personal or professional life. Check out the local option when weighing your decision. Speaking of local, our restaurants and bars recently opened back up at limited capacity. As you can imagine, this sector could use some support. Consider dining in, or continue to order take out.

The LSCP has a great way for you to support local. Our Love on Local (LOL) gift card program has surpassed $250,000 in gift card sales. That is a quarter of a million dollars, promised to be spent right here in Marquette County! These shop local gift cards can be accepted at ANY local small business that accepts Visa cards. To purchase cards or find out more, visit loveonlocal.com. Thank you to our Love on Local underwriters, AT&T, Eagle Mine, Enbridge, mBank and Range Bank who help make this program possible. Check out the Love on Local app that highlights LOL featured businesses and allows you to enter to win monthly prizes. Want to purchase some LOL swag? We have partnered with Yooper Shirts to make that possible. Find all of this and more on our website, loveonlocal.com.

Another new project launched in the past year was the Local Heroes Project. This program was created when the business community was looking for ways to show Marquette County frontline workers their gratitude. We continue to raise funds to provide gift bags filled with local goods to frontline workers. Phase one of the project was completed in December with the delivery of 1,000 gift bags to local healthcare workers. Phases Two – Four will provide gift bags for additional groups such as teachers, retail and service workers, etc. To learn more or to donate, visit marquette.org/heroesproject/.

Hey, this was a long winded way of reminding you of the simple concept of supporting our local community and its incredible assets. If we don’t, who will?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.

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