2020 has presented us all with some unprecedented challenges. With mandated lock down requiring businesses to temporarily close shop, combined with people staying home, is causing local merchants widespread hardship. While hopefully this will be temporary for most, there will be many small business owners that will be forced to shut down for good.
Social distancing is the way to go. There is ample enough data showing that this method is slowing down the spread of COVID-19. While it is hard to collectively drive down the numbers, it is comforting that local and state governments are taking the steps to limit exposure as well as taking a well-organized approach to reopening our economies.
We want to see our favorite local stores, restaurants, bars, nail salons, barbers to survive. We want to frequent our favorite establishments again once as we emerge from this pandemic.
So, what can we do to help? Here are some ideas of what we all can do:
- Check the delivery options your local businesses offer other than just the restaurants. Your local toy store, bookstore, or boutique might offer delivery or curbside pick-up.
- Check what new ‘services’ your local establishments might offer now such as providing homemade sanitizer, home school supplies, home exercise training and so forth. While you are at it, check what services might be offered online. Therapists, tutoring, financial planners, music classes and so forth might be found online from your local providers.
- Check your local businesses before ordering on Amazon or other major online retail outlets.
- Check out niche grocery stores in your area and sign up for a CSA to support local farms. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allow for residents to have direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown locally which will support local farmers.
- Buy gift certificates from your local businesses. These businesses are able to earn some much-needed revenue, while you have something to look forward to when they can open again.
- Offer your time and expertise. Maybe you are a web designer, marketing specialist, or social media expert. By offering your expertise, you can help local businesses who might not have the best online presence to promote themselves and sell their products and services online.
- Reschedule! Do not ask for a refund, reschedule your events/appointments.
- Promote your favorite local stores. Talk about them on your social media platforms, finally leave that positive review you have meant to write. Get the word out. Hopefully, this will bring new customers to these businesses. If you discover of unique promotions or ideas from your local businesses, share them with your friends and followers online. Maybe a local bakery is offering baking and decorating kits for delivery or online cooking classes.
- If you still have a steady income and are financially capable of, continue to pay your cleaning people, nanny, babysitter, dog-sitter and so forth. They really need our help at the moment just as we need theirs.
All of the above and there are many more are a few ways that we can all do to help and show our support to our local businesses. These merchants are an integral part of what shapes and sustains our communities. They often are what led us to move into these communities that we call our homes.
Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy and practice social distancing and go support your local business, so that we can all come out of this pandemic together, stronger, and better.