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Thanks for Staying Open

Anyone who lives in Door County year-round becomes a good planner. If we’re eating out for dinner, we call well ahead for reservations. We factor in the expected stand-in-line and wait-for-order times, whether we’re picking up our morning coffee or our afternoon lunch. We buy groceries and gas during off-peak hours. Maybe we missed out on getting locally grown pears this year because our favorite place to buy them sold out so quickly. Takeout? Forget about it – at least most of the time.

We live like this with more patience some days than others. We do this because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: Our inconvenience means a good season for local businesses, and a good season for local businesses is good for our communities.

There’s also an end date. There comes a time in late fall when tourism drops off. When we don’t have to wait for traffic, it’s a signal that we also won’t have to wait for coffee, lunch or dinner. We can exhale and spread our arms and luxuriate in the space. It’s here now: The slow(er) season has arrived. 

It’s disappointing when that arrival corresponds with business closures. When we can only get our favorite coffee or pears alongside tourists.

I understand there are multiple valid reasons why businesses shut down for the winter. They can save up working capital and take a much-needed reprieve from a season’s worth of running the business. And everyone knows this past year was brutal, with the pandemic and the labor and supply shortages, all while serving what could have been record crowds. 

But remaining open year-round could be built into business plans to serve local residents who have come to rely on the amenities and options that we all know exist during the season.

I recognize not all businesses can remain open. But to those that have managed to make year-round operations work, thank you. The sum of your part is adding to the greater health of the whole in important ways.