Everyone has been affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and although we’re mustering on, some local businesses are barely keeping their heads above water. If you’re feeling generous, there are a few ways to help keep your favorite restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops and other businesses running strong, even if you can’t physically visit them. Let’s take a look at how you can support your favorite businesses during these tough times.
Order Take Out
You probably have a favorite restaurant — whether the corner diner, a small-town dive or popular chain, eating out is something that has been seriously disrupted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, with drive-through, take-out and delivery options, you can still enjoy your favorite dishes in the comfort of your own home. Not only do experts say ordering takeout is safe, it can help bolster the local economy. The best way to maximize the end benefit the restaurant receives is to order directly from them. While convenient, delivery apps like DoorDash actually cost the restaurant a lot in fees, so place your order directly from the restaurant for delivery or pick up.
Sign Up for Rewards Program
A ton of companies, from hardware stores to boutique clothing shops and beyond have implemented rewards programs to encourage repeat purchases in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Not only does this allow you to support your favorite companies through purchases, it can make buying that much more exciting when you get the additional incentives that come along with obtaining points or passing benchmarks.
Are you trying to kick COVID this year? Check out our post: 2021 Guide to Living Your Best Life.
Purchase Gift Cards
Gift cards provide a simple and easy way to support small businesses, and can usually be purchased directly through online. This gives them an instant injection of cash, while you get the opportunity to scope out that something special to eventually use the gift card on. This is also great for businesses you frequently visit. For instance, you can spend pretty extravagantly on a gift card from your favorite grocery store — odds are, you’ll use it!
Skip Mega Retailers, Shop Local
Even though retailers like Amazon and WalMart have made it insanely simple to purchase anything you’d ever need, there are several online venues that promote local business sales. This can help pump some money toward the little guys, rather than large corporations who’ve only seen huge revenue growths over the past year. There are a lot of popular options that promote local companies from across the United States, including Bookshop, Farmbox and Cooperative Grocer.
Purchase Something for Others
Even if there’s nothing that you personally want to purchase from a particular business, if you have the means, you can find a special something for someone else in your life. Whether a piece of jewelry from a local artist, gift cards to a struggling restaurant or tickets to a virtual event. Another great gift idea is a Discovery Flight. Perfect for the person in your life that’s always wanted to learn how to fly an airplane. They recieve an hour-long introductory lesson while getting to helm the control wheel themselves and fly under the direction of a certified flight instructor (CFI).
Share on Social
Even if you don’t boast the largest number of followers, every bit of exposure can help drive more engagement with your favorite businesses. Feel free to share a link to their website on your blog, Tweet about upcoming sales or discounts, or snap some selfies of you interacting with their brand and post it to Instagram. This will encourage others in your network to check them out.
Whether you’re an avid Yelper or have never dabbled in the world of online reviews, you can show your support by leaving some positive feedback on the businesses’ online listings. Sites like Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor or of course, Yelp, are easy to use and offer a hassle-free sign-up process. When you leave reviews and positive ratings, you help promote that businesses’ profile, giving it more visibility among potential customers.
Searching for other COVID-friendly things to do? Check out our post: Fun & Safe Date Nights in the Twin Cities.
Shop at Organizations that Give Back
If you’d rather spend your money on a cool treasure rather than something shiny and new, consider shopping at your local thrift store. Many are selling items through their websites and auction venues, or offering pick-up/delivery. This includes Goodwill and Salvation Army. Not only are you keeping your money local, you’re supporting a business that also donates much of its proceeds to supporting communities who’ve also been affected by COVID-19.
Don’t Go Out if You’re Feeling Ill
Rather than take any risks, it’s best for everyone if you stay home when feeling ill. Even if your state doesn’t have stay-at-home orders in place or businesses locked down, going out while you’re sick can only put those that work at these businesses at risk. Doing your part to ensure everyone’s safety will in turn help ensure your local employees stay healthy and are able to keep operations running smoothly.
Give Back and Feel Good
There’s no better time to support local businesses than now — during the midst of this pandemic, the more you can get out and spend money in your community, the better off everyone will be. Businesses will surely be grateful for all the help you can supply, and you’ll feel good knowing that you gave essential support when you could.