There’s a special day set aside between Thanksgiving and Christmas to encourage shoppers to patronize the small businesses that help our community thrive.

In the wake of the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic, setting aside a day won’t be sufficient. Frankly, setting aside a month or two probably won’t be either. The first confirmed case in Angelina County was reported less than 24 hours ago.

According to statistics from the U.S. Small Business Association, 99.8% of all businesses in Texas are considered small businesses. Those 2.7 million small businesses employ about 4.7 million people and deliver essential goods and services to communities across the state all the time.

Angelina County is no exception.

“Shopping small” boosts our local economy and helps support the local businesses who contribute so much to the fabric of our community. There are a variety of mom-and-pop shops that offer unique gift options the big-box retailers can’t match.

Businesses, cities and schools are strengthened by local spending, which bolsters both quantity and quality of municipal services. Those sales tax dollars can possibly lower property taxes, build better roads and parks, soften the impact if there is decreased federal state funding, enable businesses to possibly contribute more to more charities, promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the sense of community.

Our local businesses are the foundation of this community. But many small businesses here, like many around the state, are reeling from the impact from the spread of the coronavirus.

That’s why small businesses statewide are eligible to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office and the SBA Disaster Office are attempting to process applications as fast as possible to minimize any economic disruption. This is money that businesses may use to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of a disaster’s impact.

The old adage is that you have to spend money to make money. That means it’s hard to make money in a business without investing some money in supplies, products, advertisement or other business expenses.

Shoppers can show their love for our brick and mortar businesses by:

■ Shopping local online.

■ Supporting local businesses that deliver.

■ Paying special attention to local products when ordering grocery delivery online.

■ Buying gift cards for later use.

■ Telling friends and family about your favorite local businesses.

For our community to remain strong and vibrant, that’s what needs to happen. And it would mean so much more than just visiting a restaurant’s drive-thru.

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