Boost Local Businesses Virtually

05/06/20

Since the Coronavirus pandemic impacts our local economies as well as our health, governments have started rolling out measures to stimulate the economy and support businesses. 

We all know that local businesses that aren’t considered essential services are suffering during this financial crisis. They’ve had to find ways to reduce their expenses and mitigate the huge dent the crisis is making in their revenue. Many are closing their doors or furloughing some or all of their employees. But what else are they doing to survive? They’re adapting and doing what they can to help others! 

In the United States, non-profits and businesses are partnering to support short-term emergency needs and future recovery efforts. And they’re coming up with innovative ways to help local entrepreneurs and local communities. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, a group of local businesses and non-profits has teamed up on FEED to Go, an initiative that uses funds raised from the community to hire local chefs and restaurateurs who provide meals to those in need through community centers around the city. 

Consumers can also help to support small local businesses by making informed choices with their spending.  Here are some tangible things you can do if you have money to spend:

– Order takeout from your favorite local restaurant. With stay-at-home orders in effect in most states, many restaurants are only able to serve customers through takeout and delivery, so ordering a tasty meal this way helps them keep some of their staff employed. 

– Purchase gift cards. You can often buy gift cards online to use once a store reopens. Consider giving a gift card to a loved one who has to celebrate their birthday in lockdown. They’ll be happy to use their card once the situation improves. Double your impact by purchasing gift cards from small businesses owned by women, especially women of color, who are being hit harder by this pandemic due to structural inequities that drive racial and gender disparities in things like access to capital and low-interest loans. Buying from these businesses will help them keep their staff employed and boost the local economy.

– Buy online, but buy local! Nearly everyone shops online and this can be an enjoyable way to spend some of your extra free time. Just be sure to start by shopping online at locally-owned stores. Many of them will be offering promotions that will make your virtual shopping trip even more fun.

– Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture share. The COVID-19 pandemic is also devastating for many small farmers. Since you’re probably spending more time cooking at home, consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. A CSA is one way to connect directly with smaller farmers and support them at a very uncertain time. Search this directory to find a CSA near you.

Whether we’re in lockdown or not, we want to take care of our loved ones and ourselves, and enjoy good food. Why not do it safely from home while also supporting your local economy? 

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