As we all stay home to practice social distancing, local shops are feeling the impact of reduced business. Locally owned businesses are the lifeblood of communities, and they often give neighbourhoods their unique character and sense of community.
With the necessary practice of social distancing in place right now, you may be asking yourself, “How can I support small businesses?” Here are a few things you can do to support small businesses.
Purchase gift cards from your favourite places
One of the biggest ways that we can support small businesses like bars, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues that have had to temporarily close across the country is by purchasing gift cards. Many local governments support small businesses by creating directories, social media campaigns, and giving them a space to advertise and create content. You can purchase Square gift cards from shops listed on Square’s Give and Get Local directory, which is searchable by city, and help support your local small business by giving them immediate cash flow.
Shop online (for yourself or others)
Just because you can’t physically visit many of your favourite shops, doesn’t mean you can’t support your local small business. While many businesses have closed their physical locations to customers, they are still able to offer a variety of online options. If you have a much-loved local retailer, consider shopping on its website for things you might need right now, from household goods to ways to entertain your children who may be missing their friends and usual social activities.
Even if your favourite businesses haven’t typically offered online services, curbside service, or deliveries in the past, they might be adopting these services as part of their compliance with local lockdown orders. Check their social media accounts, recent emails, or website to find out if they’ve added new ways you can support a small business near you.
If you don’t find yourself personally in need of anything from your favourite local businesses, consider using small businesses to put together care packages for local healthcare workers. Or maybe you know of a friend or family member who lives alone and might be cheered up by a thoughtful gift.
Order takeout food or drinks
A lot of local restaurants are still offering takeaway and delivery breaks, so when that time does come, call around to your favourite local restaurants to see what they have available. Or use their app or website to order online.
If you have a favourite local pub, ask about purchasing unopened beer, wine, or spirits. Every territory is different in this regard, but many are letting bars sell their unopened inventory, which could be a great way to enjoy your favourite alcoholic beverages and support local businesses at the same time.
If you’re worried about the health and safety of getting takeaway orders, check in with the business first. To find recent announcements and changes to service, check social media or a business’s website to learn about the extra steps it’s taking to ensure cleanliness and safety on delivery and pickup orders.
Organise a virtual fundraiser for your Main Street
Some communities are holding fundraisers for their local businesses. If you want to support your town’s small businesses, organising a fundraiser or even just assembling the information for how customers can buy gift cards for their favourite stores and restaurants could make a huge difference.
Also, just because people are distancing themselves in person doesn’t mean we can’t all be social online. In fact, it’s a key way to support small businesses. Promote your favourite businesses on your personal Twitter, Instagram, Facebook page, etc. Friends who live near you might not be aware of which local businesses are in need of help, plus online friends might want to help out from afar.
Share helpful resources for small business owners
The Australia NES has provided workplace entitlements and obligations during the impact of coronavirus, so if you know a business owner, make sure they know about the different avenues of relief that are available. Learn more about Square’s resources for small businesses.