Local businesses make our communities unique and are essential to our economy. Here are a few small ways you can support them.

During these unprecedented times, many small and medium sized companies are having to pivot directions as governments enact social distancing and shelter-in-place policies that force them to temporarily shut their doors.

As businesses adapt to these changes, people are reaching out to their favorite restaurant and stores, looking for new opportunities to support them in the coming months. 

Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to support your small-business community from the safety of your couch, patio or desk. 

6 Ways You Can Support Local Businesses from Home

Wanting to divert funds to help secure the financial futures of local businesses in your area? Here are a few things you can do.

Purchase Gift Cards in Advance 

Eventually, your day-to-day routine will return, meaning you’ll be back at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop getting your go-to drink. Or browsing the racks at the boutique down the street from your house. Consider purchasing a gift card (even just $10) in advance. That way, you can inject cash in the hands of these small-business owners right now.

Pay for Future Events, Lessons or Classes

Does your local cheesemonger or bake shop offer classes on the regular? See if you have the option to pay for future events now in exchange for credit down the road. In some cases, these stores may even offer online lessons so you can continue learning new things in the comfort of your home. 

Don’t Assume They’re Closed, Or Selling the Same Things

This may sound simple, but call or double check the websites of your favorite places. A lot of them have shifted their business hours and are even stocked with a few essential goods. Some nearby restaurants may even be selling their food service supplies straight to the public, like eggs or milk. 

Order for Delivery or Pickup

Many restaurants and shops are closed, but are still offering delivery or pickup as an alternative to in-store service. Same-day, local delivery and curbside pickup are becoming more and more prominent to keep up with the changing landscape. With this shift, a lot of delivery services are also waiving or reducing their fees. Some are even setting up relief funds for businesses and ensuring contact-less pickup and deliveries whenever possible. 

Tip More Than Usual

Now is the time to tip service workers extra, if you have the financial ability to do so. These essential workers are putting in hard public work day-to-day. If everyone tips a couple extra dollars each time, it will add up and these workers will really appreciate it. And on top of this remember to be kind to these people and offer your thanks if you get to see them face-to-face.

Spread the Word 

While we are all bombarded with social media now more than ever, use your voice for good by encouraging your followers, friends and family to shop local. If your city has posted resources on how to support local businesses, hit the share button. Many independent business owners and restaurant groups nationwide are also asking for donations to keep their businesses alive and staff paid. If you come across these fundraisers, consider donating and spreading the word to raise awareness as well.

Why You Should Support Local Businesses

The benefits of shopping locally extend past the here and now. These businesses are a necessary fabric of our society. They inspire entrepreneurship, drive tourism, help local development and can preserve the character of a town or city.