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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

2/27/2021 2:57:00 PM
Reader worried about small business closing

DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I go outside in my neighborhood and a little bit beyond, I see more businesses shutting down. It is so depressing. I realize it's been almost a year since COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. I have been working from home ever since, and I have been afraid to do much of anything. But I do try to spend a few dollars here and there to help out the local shops. I feel so sad. I guess my little sandwich purchase or occasional trip to the dry cleaners hasn't been enough to keep these stores open. Obviously, I know they need more than me, but I see whole blocks of businesses shut down. I'm so worried about what is going to happen. Is there anything more that I can do to help? I see a few establishments hanging on, but I can only spend so much. Is this a lost cause? -- Helping My Neighbors

DEAR HELPING MY NEIGHBORS: I, too, watch with horror as blocks and blocks of businesses are shut down where I live in New York City. It is frightening. While you, as an individual, may feel that you can't make a difference, don't believe that. Just as each vote counts in an election, each purchase counts toward keeping small (and large) businesses open. To make a bigger impact, reach out to your neighbors and friends, and suggest that all of you make a concerted effort to support local businesses with your consistent patronage.

You can go a step further and speak to your favorite businesses to find out how they are doing. If you find that some are in serious, immediate jeopardy of closing, you can rally your friends to help them stay afloat. While we cannot save all businesses, it may be possible to keep some alive. Hopefully there will be an additional stimulus package soon that will specifically support the thousands of small businesses that are currently in jeopardy.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was going through old photos recently as I was preparing a gift for my family, and I got to see an instant replay of how much I have changed. I have had medical problems for the past few years. Well, the photos show just how much weight I have gained in that period of time. My doctors have told me that if I lose weight, I may be able to reverse some of my health problems. Up to now, I haven't had the discipline or energy to do what it takes to lose weight. These pictures make it clear that I had better do something quick. Is it awful that vanity is now driving my focus on health? I need to do something, and these pictures were like a slap in the face. -- Too Vain

DEAR TOO VAIN: Whatever it takes to jump-start your health care plan, be grateful for it! If you are clear that you need to lose weight to get healthier, and these pictures helped to open your eyes -- thank the photos.

Your journey to better health can be initiated by vanity. That's fine. Just don't stop there. Move your body. Be mindful of what you eat and drink, and commit to getting healthy for your life. The bonus, if you are consistent, is that your overall health will likely improve, AND you will look better!

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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