As our world continues to be ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several messages that we continue to hear loud and clear: Wash your hands; Stay home; Stay six feet apart from those you don’t live with.
And to that, we’d like to add one more: Support local businesses.
It’s important to remember that these business owners aren’t some corporate hot shots based out of an international office, they are our friends, our family and our neighbours.
Instead of going to Amazon or some other large international business to do your online shopping, check what our local shops are offering. Many of them have moved their business online. Some are accepting credit card payments over the phone and then offering to deliver their products to you, with no contact.
Another thing you can do is to not cancel any memberships or subscriptions that you currently have to local services or businesses. Maybe you purchased a gym membership only days before the shutdowns or subscribed to a service right before it was stopped. Instead of asking for a refund, considering donating that money to the business or getting a credit for when the business reopens.
This idea of donating costs could also apply to events or classes that you’d signed up to take. Instead of making a fuss over a refund for a concert you have tickets for, just donate the funds to the artist instead. Same goes if you’ve paid your nanny, dog walker or housekeeper in advance. Chances are they could use the funds.
Gift cards are another great option for supporting local businesses. You might not be able to shop now, but you’ll certainly be able to later. Consider buying gift cards for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
Since many restaurants are trying to remain afloat by offering food delivery services, try and order food from your favourite restaurant. Even more important, tip your delivery driver well. These are people still working hard to ensure that you stay safe and fed and they deserve to see some appreciation.
Although traditional brick and mortar businesses are undoubtedly seeing the effects of this virus, so too are more alternative business models. We have an abundance of artists and musicians and their importance to our cultural being is becoming more and more clear with each day of isolation. Why not commission a custom piece of artwork from a local artist or use an online tipping service to show our musicians some love?
Of course, as many people face layoffs and unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, asking people to spend their dwindling funds isn’t always the answer.
If money is an issue, show your love online with positive reviews. By leaving great reviews, you’ll be able to help the business by telling everyone how wonderful you think they are.
You can also do this by sharing their posts and information on social media. Let’s be frank, we’re all plugged in online more than we were before this pandemic hit so let’s use this extra screen time to do some good. Give your local businesses a follow, a like and share their content to your own page to help get the word out.
At the end of the day, we get through this thing as a community. Together. Not apart. Let’s do all we can to support each other.