Opinion | Showing gratitude: Giving thanks to local businesses

In the third edition of a four-part series, Opinions contributor Stella Logsdon expresses her gratitude.


Stella Logsdon, Opinions Contributor

Everyone has their favorite local shops. Now is the time to show up for them.

My parents opened up La Mie Bakery in Des Moines in 2002. The bakery opened in a small unit of a strip mall near Roosevelt High School, where it remains today. I was born a year later, which means there hasn’t been a period of my life where La Mie hasn’t been relevant.

I remember my sister and I playing with leftover dough and throwing our own baked goods into the ovens when no one was looking. We would run around on the back patio and play pretend or take over the espresso bar and make hot chocolates for ourselves after school.

As I grew older, my pre-teenage angst took hold of me, and I wished my parents had “normal” jobs. I remember feeling embarrassed of the bakery, and I hated the fact that this was somehow always a factor that distanced myself from my friends and their families. I continued to grow up and grow out of this phase.

When the nation was placed under lockdown in March 2020, I saw fear in a way I hadn’t seen before. My parents were suddenly placed under conditions they had no preparation for, and the direct connection between the stability of the business and our family’s well-being had become incredibly evident to me.

In this moment, everything shifted.

La Mie is a family business, and that does not solely include my family. Employees of the bakery and their families have been with the business for years, creating a tightknit group of people we risked losing.

The National Library of Medicine reported that between the months of February-April 2020, the number of active businesses owners in the U.S. plummeted by 3.3 million — or by 22 percent.

My family’s business, alongside other local businesses across the country, struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But COVID-19 has changed my attitude on both the ownership of and membership toward local businesses. For a while, I took for granted the success and stability of my family’s bakery.

Now that I have surpassed this period, I’ve gained a newfound perspective on local businesses. What once seemed to be something that was so personal to me turned into something I knew was a shared experience. So many families like mine dedicate their lives to the businesses they’ve created. These people stand behind the register and greet their customers every morning and close up shop every night.

Managing to come out of the other side of the economic and social challenges heightened by COVID-19 is no small feat. That said, it is so important to not take these places for granted or assume they will always be around. Frankly, they won’t. As members of the community, it’s up to us to support these businesses and the people behind them.

To local business owners, I want to express my gratitude for your dedication to both your craft and your community. Supporting these business owners and the goods and services they provide has never been more important, and I encourage the consideration of choosing local and showing up for our community.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.