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How to Support Small Businesses Right Now

Strange times we live in, folks. Our normal routines have shifted, if not completely stopped altogether, and the world’s streets are eerily empty. Schools are closed. Storefronts are shuttered. Social distancing has become the new normal.

But despite the circumstances, for small business owners and employees, the show must go on. Even if that means adapting to some strange, temporary changes. It means the world to small businesses when their customers show up for them — even if they can’t show up at the storefront right now. No matter where you are in the world, here are 7 great ways you can support your local businesses:

Photo by Tim Mossholder

1. Buy gift cards.

Stores, restaurants, local movie theaters, hair salons, and other small businesses are still paying expenses for their brick-and-mortars. Buying a gift card to use once their doors reopen is a great way to help them offset those costs.

2. Call in an order for curbside pickup.

Tons of businesses across the country are now still offering curbside pickup for call-in and online orders. Ordering for pickup will also help restaurants, coffee shops, and other local stores stay afloat before they’re able to open to the public again.

3. Tip generously, if you can.

Service workers and delivery drivers are on the front lines of the pandemic. They risk their own health in order to keep restaurants and other businesses running — and to keep those of us who are hunkered down well-fed. Tipping generously is a token of your appreciation for those whose work often goes unnoticed.

Photo by Georgia de Lotz

4. Get social (from a distance, of course).

Take to social media and leave good reviews, share posts, or call your local businesses and offer a word of encouragement or support. We guarantee it will put a smile on someone’s face that day.

5. Buy fresh.

Support your local farms and buy fresh produce whenever possible! Especially when demand for fresh food is lower (canned food seems to be the way to go these days…), farms need the boost to keep their operations running and their employees paid. Plus, eating fresh greens and veggies is a win for your immune system! Check to see if farms in your area have any pickup spots in your city.

Photo by Markus Spiske

6. Don’t ask for refunds.

Protect local venues and cultural activities like museums and concert halls: don’t ask for a refund for tickets you bought recently, even if the events have been canceled or postponed indefinitely (if this is financially possible for you). Yes, it’s definitely a bummer to miss a show or concert you paid for. But your ticket funds can help support the business when it matters most.

7. Subscribe for online classes.

If you normally visit a local yoga studio, gym, craft workshop or other activity in a class setting, check to see if they are offering online classes. Just because you can’t show up in-person doesn’t mean you have to stop learning!

With the support from their communities, small local businesses are able to navigate through the choppy waters ahead. For those who have been supporting our own small business in any capacity possible, we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Do you have other tips for supporting local businesses during COVID-19? Share them with us in the comments!

Cecilia Seiter
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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