I must admit, I love online shopping.

Like most Americans, our house typically has a steady stream of packages throughout the week rolling through. Amazon, Chewy, and Threadup are certainly the regulars, but not the only ones.

But even with this steady stream of commerce, you will still find me at my local hardware store, coffee shop, and favorite restaurants all the time.

There can be a happy medium. There needs to be a happy medium. If there isn't, this happens.

Sadly, the doors are closing for the Peaks Island's hardware store. According to WGME, the store just couldn't keep up due to the pandemic and the online shopping boom it brought on.

As if online shopping needed more of a catalyst. Well, it certainly got that with COVID.

As WGME reports, it had been a near decade of operation for Duffy's. When the pandemic hit in 2020, it closed for nearly a year. That was followed by a thin tourist season in 2021. However, according to WGME, the focus shifted to online shopping as the issue in 2022, with numerous former customers telling the owners that Amazon became the norm.

This is absolutely crushing to read. Seeing small businesses struggle is tough enough. To see one close down is just downright heartbreaking. Most small business owners put their entire lives into it, as well as time, energy, sanity, sweat...literally all they have. It's the true definition of a daily grind.

We have seen so many small businesses close down due to the pandemic. The last thing we need now is to lose them to online shopping.

Small business owners deserve better. They deserve a community that supports them, not a community that smiles at the owner from the street while ordering something online they could easily get locally.

We are losing great stores. This is negatively affecting our communities. We are only as strong as our local commerce. If we lose that, we lose our identity.

Look, I'm a realist. I'm also a capitalist. Online shopping has its place. It's convenient and the variety is outstanding.

However, it's also soulless.

I urge you to shop local when you can. Help keep great businesses open. Help keep people employed. Help your community keep its character. Support a small business today.

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