It's a sad fact today in the world of Covid-19 the local and global economy is suffering. Hairdressers are closed as well as pubs, bowling alleys and many local restaurants which are big work and resource providers in our region. What can residents do to support these businesses, helping ensure healthy restarts when the contaminant issues subside?
1) Gift Cards - many local establishments offer gift cards. Places you would normally be grabbing daily items from right now can use gift card revenue from that few extra bucks in your pocket. The best part is, when you are ready to go out and shop again, the store will be ready for you and you already have a line of credit to spend.
2) Shop curbside or online - Many places like Falls Boutique are offering a curbside shopping experience, “we are posting pictures online that people can pay for and curbside pick up or we can mai” said owner Melissa Syring, “We are also selling gift cards that will help us right now but then give shoppers the opportunity in the future to come in and spend it”.
3) Share on social media - Many of your favorite businesses are sharing information about what they offer, reduced hours and other needs on facebook, instagram and other platforms. Share these links, posts and messages, spread their story and help your friends and neighbors know what resources can be found while also helping your local economy garner customers.
4) Memberships/Investments - If you have been waiting to buy a membership to your local pub or chamber now is the time to do it. A next level idea may be, if you have your own business name you want to get out there, approach a local business suffering and see if they have advertising or other needs your business can sponsor, get your logo printed on a banner your neighbor desperately needs.
5) Consulting fees - Many business owners and service workers out of work right now have a vast skill set. From knowing your skin care needs up to intimate knowledge of your secret favorite cocktail mix and appetizers, these industry experts still exist and are looking for new ways to supplement their income. Maybe your local beautician can work with you over the phone to figure out your perfect skin care regimen, or maybe you are having a small family dinner and want to hire a personal chef? Find these workers in need and hire them for an hour or two of their time, put their skills to work creatively and give yourself or family and experience or break from nightly self made meals in and dishes.
6) Takeout - Many restaurants are attempting a strict takeout menu to keep their business afloat. Granite Bowl encourages not only gift cards but is pushing the kitchy alley small bites, burgers and pizza as easy to pick up items to grab and go. Last weekend was the businesses first takeout offering attempt but sadly only 3 customers stepped up to the plate. “We will try again this coming weekend but can’t hardly sit there for no reason. This has been really hard and really stressful” said owner Jenelle Weckwerth-Donner. Don't let places like your local bowling alley down, you will miss them when playtime together is no longer a pastime. Look for take out offerings in your community and try to rotate establishments of patronage.
7) Leave a Review - If you have something nice to say about a local business, a meal you had, a service offered, or a measure taken to keep shoppers healthy, share your experience! Online reviews help other patrons stay informed and make choices. Help the friend you haven't met yet and your local business owners by professing the good you have experienced.
8) Use a Credit Card - let's face it, cash is dirty. The surface of a dollar bill is much harder to keep germ free than your debit card. If at all possible use plastic when shopping to keep the spread of surface germs at a minimum. Many establishments have hand sanitizers at the checkouts for you and staff. It doesn't hurt to wipe that credit card down too before it goes back in your wallet.
9) Be a personal shopper - Odds are you have family members scared to venture to the store. Many elderly are instructed not to go out as they are more susceptible to the consequences of the virus. If you are healthy and can be cautious in your public interactions, offer to be a personal shopper for your neighbors, grandparents, etc. Pick up the items they need while also giving a local store business they were missing out on. Almich's Market in Granite Falls has organized just such a volunteer force to serve stay at homers who simply contact the store, proving the smallest local markets can be adaptable and purposeful in a crisis.
10) BUY LOCAL - The reality is the big businesses, the Walmarts and Dairy Queens of the world are probably not going to disappear because of Corona Virus but your Maw and Paw stores may. Where you chose to shop right now matters big, it's a game changer for the small business around the corner when a patron shows up and safely spends. Before you leave town to stock up at a big box store, think locally, think hard. What’s on your list? It is likely here already inside a small business needing your help. A small business you will hope is there later.
The Advocate Tribune has put together a business map to help residents map where services are, modified hours and operations as well as navigate closures at www.granitefallsnews.com. The interactive map that will update every 24 hours. If you want information on a business not listed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Business owners/managers who have not yet filled out the submission form and would like to be added to the map, please fill out this line form at https://forms.gle/DTAwdhMSXsFBbuCBA.