As a community, the investment we make in our local businesses is an investment in our city, our county and our quality of life. Local shops and restaurants face both the effects of COVID and online shopping and with cases rising and tighter restrictions taking effect, the fate of our small business community is in jeopardy. We implore you: Shop, dine and support local!

Local food and beverage, flowers and gifts, educational toys, clothing, arts, education, recreation, real estate, legal, financial, and many other services and industry are open within limitations, and/or are offering online ordering, pick-up and/or delivery.

We are fortunate to live in a city and county that has so much to offer! We need to do all we can to help them survive; shopping local is the way to accomplish that.

Together with the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau and Main Street Program, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce stands solidly behind the “Shop Local” initiative. As part of this initiative, we encourage you to participate in our Small Business Saturday Bingo event Nov. 28. Bingo cards will be available starting Monday.

Another program vital to the Shop Local initiative is the Chamber Bucks program. Chamber Bucks, like gift certificates, can be used to purchase merchandise, products or services at over 200 local businesses. There are no fees for Chamber Bucks and they never expire!

Each year, over $25,000 flows through Freeborn County businesses through the Chamber Bucks program and keeps spending local, benefiting Chamber member businesses and the many contributions they make to our local economy. Let’s do all we can to ramp that up! Contact the Chamber at 373-3938 or visit us online at for details.

Support our merchants and service providers to help ensure our future. Shop local!

Shari Jenson

executive director

Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce