Letter from the desk of Ida Schossow (December 2017)

Local businesses in Orange County were hit hard as a result of Hurricane Harvey. It is up to each of us to help make these businesses a success. I know no one is going to commit to shop local 100 percent of the time, but give serious thought to what percentage you can commit to. You can make the difference this holiday season.
When you shop local, you will be helping local charities. Local businesses give more to our charities, youth teams and events, but they can’t support our community without your patronage. Gift more thoughtfully this year by shopping local.
You may find some products are cheaper online from a company that offers no chance to “try before you buy.” Shopping online does not create jobs or benefits for your community. Think about it this way: If your local shops are gone the next time you need them, was it worth it? It would not be worth it to me.
Shopping shouldn’t leave us feeling like we have to do a chore; it should be an enjoyable experience with positive interactions. I find that’s far more likely to happen when I’m patronizing local businesses where I know the people who work there.
As consumers, we collectively spend a large portion of our annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. If we don’t shop our local business, they may be gone the next time you need them. You will have to answer the question, “Was it worth it?” Thank you for shifting those dollars to local businesses.
As I drive around town, I’m beginning to see businesses reopening after the destruction from Hurricane Harvey. I think this is progress, and that is what is important. The new look at the Stage store is impeccable. As you walk in, a beautiful display greets you featuring special items. Merle Norman Cosmetics reopened with beautiful new decor and the same great employees and service. A Little Bit Gaudy reopened with plenty of glitter and bling for holiday shopping. There are so many more businesses that have worked hard to get back up and running in time for the holiday season. As you drive around, pay attention to the retail shops, restaurants, car dealers, banks, credit unions and all other businesses who choose to be a part of your community. As our Orange County businesses reopen, please stop in and express your appreciation for all they have been through to get their doors back open. Choose to be a part of them by keeping your dollars local.
During the aftermath of Harvey, I witnessed local people helping local people, local businesses helping local businesses. Let’s keep up the helping ways we have started. Remember “What Stays Local, Grows Local.”
It is a great day at the Chamber of Commerce when we get to celebrate an opening of a new business. Thursday, Nov. 16, we held a ribbon cutting for Rambo Outdoors. The new owners, Cory and Aleena Rambo, are both natives of Orange County. Cory has fished competitively since 1998. Rambo Outdoors is at 2313 MacArthur Drive in Orange. They offer a wide variety of fishing, hunting, and general outdoor equipment. They will be acquiring some feminine apparel to appeal to the outdoors women. Stay tuned. I know they will do great things!