Black Friday gives residents opportunities to shop locally

By Jonathan Strom

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and this year in-store shopping is expected to return to close to pre-pandemic levels

“I see it as a great opportunity to give back to local businesses, and help support them,” said Tracy Van Kalsbeek, executive director of the Uptown Waterloo BIA. “Many of them are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and going through the economic recovery.”

While online shopping grew in popularity during the pandemic, Van Kalsbeek said she believes plenty of people are ready to return to stores.

“I feel like a lot of people are like me, they like to see something, touch something, experience something, Van Kalsbeek said. “Being able to shop in person, and get some of those really great deals that happen because of Black Friday is great.”

When it comes to choosing between local businesses, and big box stores, Van Kalsbeek said their are great benefits to the community when people shop locally.

“They're the ones that hire our kids, support our local sports teams,” she said. “The money that is spent in small businesses comes back into our community.”

One thing to keep in mind while shopping for the holidays this year, is that many stores are having trouble staffing their stores. That just means a little more patience may be required while shopping this year.

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