The silver lining
In Press Release with the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce:
Our small businesses are the backbones of our communities. Many of us who live in
small towns “Up North” understand the importance of shopping locally, and know it is not only to support a business owner’s livelihood.
Instead, we view these small business owners and their employees as our family, friends, and neighbors. Each business was someone’s dreams and aspirations that come to life through hard work, personal investment, and sacrifice. Collectively, these are the places that make up the character and charm of our small towns.
For many people, a small local business is the place they were hired for their first job, and where they can plan to retire from. For others, it is where life’s events are celebrated, or where we make a toast with a good friend over great food.
Small businesses have stood up time and time again through their continued involvement in our local communities. These local businesses often support to school sports programs, volunteer at events, and donate to local causes. They care about making this a great place for our residents and visitors to work, live and play.
They have also been hit hard financially due to executive orders. Following the pause on indoor dining after Thanksgiving, the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber joined forces with several other chambers throughout the region to rally support around eating and drinking locally.
A partnership was formed between the Cuyuna Lakes, Brainerd Lakes, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Crosslake chambers of commerce, the Initiative Foundation and Bridges of Hope to offer the Cuisine Cash gift certificate program. The community showed its support for struggling local food and drink establishments by purchasing Cuisine Cash throughout the holidays.
The program sold more than $171,000 regionally, as well as matching a $7,500 grant to Bridges of Hope. More than $27,300 was sold for participating Cuyuna Lakes Chamber member bars and restaurants.
Restaurants, bars and breweries recently re-opened for indoor dining on Jan. 11. I encourage everyone to add at least purchase per week from local food and drink establishment to their budget to show your support for the hardships the hospitality industry is facing amid the pandemic.
In Cuyuna Lakes, the variety of small shops, restaurants and bars compliment our many outdoor recreational opportunities. Winter tourism contributes to the local economy and has remained steady.
Visitors come from all over the state, country, and world to explore the Cuyuna Country
State Recreational Area. With 40 miles of groomed trails, and 25 miles of mountain bike trails, there is something for everyone –from fat-tire biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or hiking. There are also snowmobile and ATV trails throughout the area.
Ice fishing on the frozen mine pit lakes full of trout is another favorite pastime. Between the trail systems, mine pit lakes and local shops, restaurants, and bars, it’s enough to keep the family busy for an entire weekend of winter fun.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented, there is also a silver lining. It is shown through a strong community spirit and support for one another. It is in the way we’ve rediscovered our love for the great outdoors. We have been given the chance to slow down and learn to appreciate all there is to experience in our own backyard.