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As folks start checking off items on their Christmas list, local retailers are hoping that shoppers keep them in mind.

“Occasions of Jasper” owner, Margaret Vaught, says that shopping small is important every year, but 2020 is different. Instead of going to the website of a major department store, Vaught is urging shoppers to think about how much small businesses care about the community.

“We struggle enough in competing with online orders and big-box stores. But it’s important to us that you understand how much we care about our customers and our community. You are the heart of our business. Our customers are more than just a customer, they’re family. We want you to be happy and we will do our best to make sure you feel safe and comfortable in our environment,” she says.

Vaught says that local retailers aren’t just shops. Without them, some community events wouldn’t be able to take place.

“We’re here to put those posters in the windows, to promote fundraisers, dinner banquets, and things like that to help charities. We’re also the ones who are donating the products for silent auctions. And if we’re not here because of the lack of business due to COVID-19, then we won’t be here for those events when it all picks up again,” she says.

This year has also shown a new light on certain items. Vaught says that many families are turning to other options to spread the Christmas cheer.

“When you can’t get together with someone, you can still send them a handwritten note or a greeting card of some kind. It’s a little more personal than a text message or social media post,” she says.

If you decide to host a small Christmas gathering, shopping local may make you think about items you didn’t know you needed.

“Guest towels are something that has taken off in the past 10 to 15 years. But this year, they are way more popular,” she says.

Vaught says it’s not just about the money. They want to make sure every customer has the best experience possible.

“We all care about you. We don’t only care about ourselves and our stores.  We’re here to help the community as much as we can. And right now, we need you,” she says.

“Occasions of Jasper” is just one of the locally owned businesses in Downtown Jasper. To learn about the other small businesses Jasper has to offer, go to visitduboiscounty.com.

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