Last week was normal. I watching the news a little more than usual but we were carrying on doing our daily lessons, errands, and meetings with all the people. I can’t even begin to list the number of places I go in one single week, how many small local businesses I frequent. From the coffee shop that I have meetings at, to the salons I get prettified in, to the chiropractor to the local restaurants, I love supporting small local business owners.
Then suddenly, things happened. I was seeing photos of empty shelves. Friends mentioned the stores were quiet and crazy. I made the monumental decision to postpone our huge spring event, BLOOM: An Event for New and Expectant Moms. The Illinois governor called for school closures until the end of March. Iowa legislature isn’t meeting for 30 days, and Iowa schools are now off for four weeks.
Fear and panic are starting to creep into our communities. Our wondering and questioning are starting to look like anxiety. Last week I did a poll for our Instagram followers and only 22% of respondents were feeling uneasy. Today that poll is exactly the opposite. We don’t know what our new norm will be, or how long this will last.
Small Local Business Are Concerned
While owning a small business myself, and my husband being a farmer, and we know how fragile that margin is. I love many many small local business owners and I am honestly scared for them. They have had to brainstorm ideas on how to keep customers feeling safe and comfortable with still coming to our store while this pandemic is taking place. They have had to consider all of the unknowns of what this means for our business during this time. Just as we are trying not to worry how this will all play out, so are the countless other small businesses across the Quad City region.
Unfortunately, this pandemic WILL hurt our favorite local businesses, that make our communities feel like home to us. From small local coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bakeries to potters, breweries, jewelry designers, theaters, and event planners, everyone will feel the weight of this virus on their shoulders.
As much as I understand the hesitation in spending money on other things than toilet paper for our families, we need to continue to shop local during this time.
Your favorite coffee shop will really appreciate you still buying a cuppa and a scone from them; even if it’s strictly the drive-through. The amazing family restaurant needs for you to still place a carryout order. The cute local boutique at which you splurge a little too often for your partner’s ideal would love for you to still order a new piece from their online store. Whatever you can do to still support local, do it.
Not only do our favorite Quad City businesses need it as much as possible, our entire community will benefit from it as well.
Ways to Support Small Local Businesses
Many local restaurants offer takeout options, prepared meals, catering, and some even partner with delivery services. While we are practicing social distancing as a community, restaurants will hopefully remain open and have ways to get you fed without violating social distance.
Look for ‘Locally Produced’ Right in Your Regular Store
These days, many grocers designate a section of their produce department to products sourced from within a certain vicinity of the building. Ask the produce manager if you don’t see signs. You’d be surprised which aisles carry these items.
Use Local Services
It’s not something we think about often, but maintenance and repairs for things like cars and appliances are often cheaper when you use a local company instead of the dealership or a big box store.
This is a great way to support small business owners. Our family loves Steve’s Auto Sales in McCausland for oil changes and car repairs!
Banking locally is a simple yet powerful way to support your community. When you deposit money or buy a CD at a community bank or credit union, typically a much larger percentage of your dollars is reinvested back into the local economy in the form of small business loans, bank employee wages, and bank vendor purchases with other locally owned businesses. It’s a win-win!
Social Media Comments and Shares
The internet is a scary place right now, but think how good it will make you feel if you make a point when you’re on social media to comment (not just hit like) on posts or share a post of businesses you follow.
Speaking from experience as a small local business, it means the world when someone takes the time to be reach out on social media. At QC Moms, it makes my week when someone offers virtual thank you. Plus when someone comments on a post or page, your friends see it and it spreads the news of the business. And it’s free!
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Remember the Charities
We will eventually stop washing out hands every hour. Our kids will eventually go back to school. This pandemic will eventually end; it’s just got to. If we stick by our local small businesses during this difficult time,we hope to keep their heads above water and their dreams afloat.
We could give in to those feelings of fear and panic, or we can give each other support and help ~even if we do so while remaining six feet apart.