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Local businesses encourage people to shop local for the holidays after a 'rollercoaster' year

Christmas decorations adorn the storefront window of Tom's Drawing Board.
Tom Barnett
Tom's Drawing Board Facebook
Christmas decorations adorn the storefront window of Tom's Drawing Board.

Businesses across the Northwoods are getting into the holiday spirit, as communities prepare for events like Rhinelander’s Holiday Open House and Boulder Junction’s Shopping Home for the Holidays.

One of the main goals of these events, in addition to welcoming Santa Claus to town, is encouraging people to shop local.

Tom Barnett, the owner of Tom’s Drawing Board in downtown Rhinelander, says there’s no better time to support local businesses.

“It’s a good year to shop local,” he says. “I think every year is a good year to shop local, but this year in particular because of the shipping container backup and all of the other things going on in the world, it’s a great time to support your local businesses and your local artists.”

Barnett says the past year and a half have been quite the ride for local businesses like his own.

“It’s like a roller coaster to tell you the truth,” he says. “When things get bad, things get bad. When things are lightening up, people come out. You have to relearn how to run a business.”

However, the challenging climate is just one reason why Barnett thinks this is a good year to shop local.

It’s also a way to avoid supply chain shortages.

“Everything is made right here in my studio,” he explains.

That means, unless there’s a sudden shortage of art supplies, Tom’s Drawing Board will be fully stocked with gifts this holiday season, just like the shops of other local artists and makers.

Tom’s Drawing Board is one of many area businesses participating in Rhinelander’s Holiday Open House event on November 19 and 20.

Barnett’s storefront window is already decorated for the weekend.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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