The pandemic has packed a wallop on the U.S. and world economies but has been particularly hard on local establishments. That’s why it’s important to support small businesses whenever we can.
Big companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and other corporations will survive while small businesses are closing every day. It’s so sad to hear about a favorite restaurant, Mom & Pop store, art gallery, or theater closing permanently because they can’t make their rent after being shut down for months on end.
Small businesses need everyone’s help
Even if you can’t physically walk into a store because they are still closed or you’re afraid of getting the virus, try to order from a small local business rather than a large conglomerate whenever you can. If you have money to spare, you may even want to consider making a donation to help them out.
Etsy is a website where many small business owners sell clothing, jewelry, artwork, crafts, and just about anything you can think of online. You can find items that are truly unique and often fabulous that you can never find elsewhere.
You can also shop to support independent designers on Amazon here.
The travel and tour industry
The travel industry has been brought to a screeching halt which has not only affected millions of workers in the industry but also local small businesses that cater to tourism. Tour companies have been working hard to provide at-home vacations online.
I attended a “walking tour” on Zoom of the Venice canals in Los Angeles as well as a tour of the Los Angeles Theatre. All they asked of attendees was to donate what we could. It was fun and informative.
Tour companies like Tours by Locals offer virtual tours of destinations all over the world. They are presented by people who live in the area and are terrific.
We all need to eat
Although some restaurants are opening for business, under strict CVC guidance, Baby Boomers still need to be careful. Try to eat outside if possible, wear a mask (unless you are eating), and bring your own hand sanitizer.
I carry my hand sanitizer in my purse and have some in the glove compartment of my car.
Tip: Use a car window shade to keep the inside of your car cool because some hand sanitizers are known to explode when they get too hot.
Hair and nail salons
We’re all getting pretty shaggy and I’m sure your favorite stylist can’t wait for you to make an appointment. Just make sure he or she is following all the guidelines. Don’t get frustrated if you have to wait as salons are limited to how many people can be inside at a time. And be generous with your tips.
We’ve all been watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, or whatever your favorite streaming channel is. As an actor, I know how small theaters and entertainment venues are suffering. The website WhatsonStage.com and Timeout.com will give you some ideas on what theater performances you can watch online.
Playbill has an excellent article on how to support a local theatre company and stream their shows while social distancing. Read it here.
Museums and galleries are also offering online tours. Good Housekeeping has an article that lists some well-known venues. You may also want to check out your local museums and attractions on a site like Eventbrite to see what’s happening online.
Even though cultural venues are starting to open, still be careful. This pandemic is real with over 120,000 dead Americans. A safer choice would be a visit to a botanical garden or an outdoor event.
Mom and Pop stores need our help
Can you order from a small hardware store rather than a huge box store? A local florist rather than ordering online? Or pick up food from a tiny cafe instead of a fast-food chain. It will make a huge difference and help save a neighborhood business from closing.
What small businesses can you help save today? Please leave a comment below.