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This weekend, you’ll notice a theme to our Saturday and Sunday editions of the Idaho Press: Road to Recovery. We’re joining with mayors and advertising partners to encourage you, our readers, to support local businesses as the economy reopens.

As you start to venture out again, pick up supplies, grab a meal, please keep small local businesses top of mind. They’ve carried a heavy burden through this time, and now that they have the green light to reopen, let’s show them some love — while still being sure to take the necessary precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, to protect staffers and other customers around us.

This recovery certainly does represent a road — a bumpy one at that, with lots of bends that we can’t see around yet. We haven’t arrived at the finish line by any means, and we don’t know what changes to expect in the next few months. We don’t know, for instance, if the rise in new cases will necessitate a return to a previous phase in the state’s rebound plan.

Though we can’t see what’s ahead, there are some cool bright spots if you look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. Small-business owners have gotten really creative in adapting to these challenging times.

Take a look, for example, at 44 East Boutique, a home and gift shop in downtown Meridian. The boutique had to close during the state shutdown, but Cheryl Jones, who owns the shop with her daughter, Kayloni Perry, came up with another way to still sell products.

The duo started hosting live virtual sale video on Facebook and Instagram three times a week, dubbed “Live at 5 to Survive.” Eventually their small audience grew to about 100 people.

“It’s kind of turned into a mini-auction,” Perry said. “We built a whole new community of people we didn’t know existed. To be honest, it was busier than we were when we opened.”

The pair plan to keep posting Live at 5 videos even though their doors have reopened, in part because regular viewers “begged” them to.

Check out Sunday’s paper to read more about this story as well as snippets from several other businesses around the Treasure Valley — from a bowling alley in Homedale to a North End salon serving three generations of clients.

In Saturday’s paper, you’ll find messages from Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Caldwell mayors about their city’s road to recovery. All have declared June 20-21 as Shop Local Weekend. We thank them for their engagement and participation.

Another way we’re supporting the business community is by offering matching advertising dollars. We’ve committed $1.5 million in matching advertising grants to help local businesses recover and thrive this year. Learn more at idahopress.com/grants.

Holly Beech is the managing editor of the Idaho Press.

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