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Website helps people shop local and safe this holiday season

The executive director of Built Oregon, a website that helps people shop local, explains why that's so important this holiday season.

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the pandemic has hurt small businesses across the country, a nonprofit in Oregon started a website that promotes local companies.

The website, Built Oregon, launched about a month ago. Executive director Mitch Daugherty said they have more than 2,000 products and it's growing.

"COVID is not going away when Christmas ends," Daugherty said. "Support your local retailer. Support your local restaurant. Support your local company."

On the Built Oregon website, you can find everything from arts and crafts to jewelry. All the products were produced by people right here in the state.

"A lot of food and beverage companies cannot do farmers markets, they cannot do demos," Daugherty said. "We have launched this marketplace as a hub for discovery so you can find the products from your home, because everyone should be staying home for the next few weeks."

Jarrod Schwegler, the manager at Coffee Time in Northwest Portland, said the small coffee shop went from seven to three employees in the last shutdown. 

"It's been a really tough year, especially for the holiday season," Schwegler said. "It's kind of our last life line. A lot of people need this right now."

Schwegler said Coffee Time also has a website where you can buy products, but it's nothing like having the foot traffic they're accustomed to getting. He said a lot of store owners depend on this season to get them through the next year.

"You should go online, see what they are doing to still supply stuff for you," Schwegler said.