Editor:
I share the concern expressed by others regarding the impact of prolonged road closures on local business. We should strive more than ever during these coming months to purchase from local merchants rather than buying off the Hill.
I have an outside-the-box suggestion for another method of supporting local merchants. We might arrange to purchase services in advance, similar to a gift card. For example, I would consider paying up to $300 in advance for meals at a favorite restaurant, $50 for coffee or ice cream, or a similar arrangement at a local shop. Some for of recordkeeping would be necessary to debit the “tab” as future purchses are made.
The could be arranged with a local merchant on a personal basis or organized more widely for merchants who choose to participate.
A form could be prepared that lists the merchant, the purchaser, and the amount and date of the advance purchase. Blank lines would follow for entering amounts purchased and remaining balance. The form could be offered to patrons when visiting restaurants or shops.
Such a plan may be infeasible because of regulations governing collection of sales tax and additional responsibilities for staff. It would also require a level of trust between the parties.
Nevertheless, I think the idea is worth considering because of predicted delays to reopen the roads and potential longer-term effects on the local economy.
Bill Maillard
Fern Valley

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