Help your neighbors: buy local this season

Through Julie anderson

Updated: 1 day ago Posted: 1 day ago

Buying locally has never been more important or easier than it is today. Small businesses in the state are still suffering the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic due to low ridership, significant supply chain issues and unprecedented staffing issues in nearly every industry. However, Alaskans can help their neighbors’ businesses keep their doors open by choosing to shop in their community during the holiday season; and the good news is that programs like Made in Alaska and BuyAlaska make it easy to buy locally!

The Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs’ Made in Alaska program is designed to promote products that are manufactured, manufactured or handcrafted in the state, ranging from small freebies to large industrial modules. To be eligible for the Made in Alaska program, products must be at least 51% made in Alaska. You can recognize a Made in Alaska product by looking for the “Buy the Bear” logo, which represents a mom and baby bear.

It’s easy to find out which companies or products in your area hold a Made of Alaska permit by checking the online list on the DCRA website. Products can be sorted by category or located via a search function based on product type, trade names and / or location.

The BuyAlaska program is a statewide collaborative initiative hosted by the Alaska Small Business Development Center (AK-SBDC). Its mission is to amplify Alaskan businesses through connection, awareness and better access to resources. BuyAlaska provides businesses and consumers with tools designed to help grow Alaska’s economy.

BuyAlaska resources available to consumers include a BuyAlaska holiday gift guide, access to the BuyAlaska business directory, access to exclusive discounts, and more. The BuyAlaska Holiday Gift Guide is a particularly useful tool this holiday season. It allows you to sort by category or by location. You can also find listings of virtual and in-person holiday markets, in case that is your favorite way to shop for Christmas.

BuyAlaska resources available to Alaska businesses include free listing and placement on the BuyAlaska Business Directory and discounts on business resources, including with FedEx, Constant Contact, Dell, QuickBooks Online, and ad placement. with Edible Alaska. AK-SBDC also offers consulting services, workshops and webinars, as well as business tools, including financial model worksheets and business plans.

Small businesses show up every day for Alaskans, and it is only right that we return the favor, especially when needed. Even if you can’t do all of your holiday shopping locally, replacing a few regularly purchased items online or abroad with items purchased locally can make a huge difference. If you’re uncomfortable shopping in person, or unsure whether local businesses have the products you need, give them a call. Most companies will be happy to talk about your needs and concerns, and will appreciate if you try to purchase gifts through them.

Show some holiday spirit and help small businesses in your neighborhood!

Julie anderson is Commissioner of the Alaska State Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

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