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Support community, support local

The autumn air is crisp with the aroma of fresh- brewed coffee and scrambled eggs. The neighboring Appalachian mountains reflect off the blue of the Juniata River; snuggling and guarding town with it’s vast beauty.

As the sun peaks over buildings, open signs illuminate and Lewistown wakes once again. I switch on the hanging industrial lights in the windows of my comfy T-shirt and gift shop, Lewistown Printworks, on West Market Street with my five-year-old son by my side dusting off displays and cleaning windows.

There’s a white board filled with upcoming projects, crayons and coloring books scattered across a table in my office, and canisters of ink disbursed and stacked with multi-color squeegees near a screen printing press. This is the beginning of my day as a small business owner and resident in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

In the past two years Lewistown has experienced a resurgence of small businesses and in the wake of this resurgence the continuing message to all community members to choose optimism. The conscious to support local is contagious regardless of the fall of corporate retailers and the rise of online shopping convenience. Despite the individuals on the dusty corners of social media irking Lewistown be labeled as a “dead town,” the importance to support your local small businesses is fierce and persistently chanted among a larger quantity of Mifflin County residents and visitors. In my nearly two years of being an owner of a local business, I have observed many attributions that have resulted from the presence of small businesses.

Amid the revitalization of downtown Lewistown, small businesses bond to form a support network for community members. With this network comes the recognition of local accomplishments, collective assistance in local disasters, and hot spots of positive proximity to encourage locals and visitors. Just like that, Lewistown continues to become more beautiful. Small businesses continue to open and fill empty buildings while encouraging the growth of art. With town beautification comes the increase in local tourism; a much needed share of local revenue. Furthermore, Lewistown’s small businesses continue strive to provide the community with opportunities of communication between neighbors with local events such as First Friday.

Small businesses continue to shape and create an identity for their community. My business and the other local downtown businesses are branding Lewistown; the town of optimism.

Small businesses are not just branding, networking, and growing small towns but small businesses are the town!

They are families, neighbors, and friends. The livelihood of a small business owner and their family is one hundred percent dependent on the support of their community members. With the holidays approaching now is the perfect time to invest in your fellow community member’s and shop at your town’s local businesses. Follow and share social media posts and make sure to follow event pages for local vendor pop ups such as the Sip & Shop at East End Coffee Company on December 14th. Take advantage of the Festival of Ice on December 5th and 6th to walk around Lewistown and enjoy the various activities, local vendor set ups, and small business promotions.

When you invest in a small business you are investing in your community member and they are investing in the whole community and that truly is one of the best gifts.

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Michelle Fetter is the Co-Owner of Lewistown Printworks along with her husband, Caleb. They live in downtown Lewistown with their son, Jude.