I must admit, I love this time of year. The arrival of winter brings so much energy to our valley. Lincoln Avenue sparkles with lights, there is excitement in the air and local shops are full of unique, exciting gifts. This holiday season and every season, we encourage you to get in on the excitement and invest in our community. It’s the perfect time to shop, eat and play locally.

Supporting local businesses is crucial for the success of any community, and the same holds true for the Yampa Valley. When you choose to shop locally in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek, Yampa, Hayden or Clark this holiday season, you are directly investing in Routt County’s local economy. Approximately $70 of every $100 spent remains in our community supporting our families, friends and neighbors.

There’s no denying that Steamboat Springs and Routt County are special. We owe a lot of this charm to our unique businesses, which are fueled by our local and visiting shoppers. Shopper spending not only makes up a significant portion of the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County tax collections each year, but it also helps local businesses to thrive.

Yes, shopping locally is good for our economy, but it also helps protect our planet. Nationally, shipping creates an estimated one billion metric tons of C02 per year. To reduce your carbon footprint this season, shop local and ship less.

Small businesses are great at giving back. Ninety-two percent of small business owners personally donate to local charities and nonprofits. Additionally, our businesses sponsor numerous fundraisers and events. These organizations provide a variety of social, economic, and environmental services to support our community.

Luckily, shopping locally is easy to do in Routt County. Steamboat Springs and other Yampa Valley businesses offer an incredible array of products to choose from. We’re fortunate to have everything from charming boutiques and specialty shops to art galleries and antique stores. Explore shops with handmade crafts and locally sourced goods or pick up a gift card from your favorite restaurants and bars.

If you’re looking for a list of places to shop or are curious about what’s new, you can check out the Steamboat Springs Chamber business directory at SteamboatChamber.com/discover-steamboat/business-directory/.

A new way we are encouraging visitors to shop locally for holiday gifts and more this year is by participating in Shop Local Bingo, organized in partnership with Main Street Steamboat and Steamboat Pilot & Today. Now through Dec. 17, you can scan the QR code via our Instagram post to generate your unique bingo card and then make purchases at the stores and restaurants with squares on the card to get bingo. Those who score a bingo of any kind will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a prize.

When we shop locally, we support our friends, neighbors, and our entire community. We make a statement that we believe our community is worth investing in. Shopping, eating, and playing locally funds things we care about. It’s a win-win, for you, for small businesses, and for our community. Now, go find that perfect gift. Happy Holidays.

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