Support Local Businesses During COVID-19 Now & Year-Round
Monday, November 23, 2020
Like thousands across the country, Washington County small businesses have faced severe economic hardship during 2020. Unlike ever before, local businesses need the help of their communities. There is no time like the present, beginning with Small Business Saturday on November 28, to recognize local small businesses for the positive contribution they make to our lives.
Washington County communities are tight-knit and its residents know it is possible to make a considerable economic impact during the COVID-19 crisis by supporting local small businesses. American Express indicates two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses in the U.S. stays in the local community. Additionally, it reported in a 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services. The opposite is true as well. Without that activity, a ripple effect throughout a community can be devastating for the local economy.
Why Shop Small & Local?
Small businesses are critical to the health and well-being of a vibrant community. Ideally, community members would shop local all year long in order to create the greatest impact on our local economy. On November 28, Small Business Saturday is a reminder to do so, and a fun reason to visit local shops and retailers to see what they have to offer. According to the National Federal of Independent Businesses, the support small businesses receive on Small Business Saturday helps them to start the holiday season strong. This is critical since the majority of small retailers report generating their most sales during the holiday season. Nationally, the campaign is working. According to a Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, U.S. shoppers spent an estimated $19.6 billion at independent retailers and restaurants in 2019 on Small Business Saturday, compared with $14.6 billion spent online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday - COMBINED!
Support of small retailers can resonate throughout the community, especially in our efforts to rebound quickly after COVID-19. Examples include:
- Local businesses pay local taxes and employ local people, which helps build local economies.
- Local business owners are neighbors, colleagues and friends. Supporting them helps build community and social capital.
- Local businesses are more likely to have unique, handmade or one-of-a-kind products that can’t be found at chain stores or big online retailers.
- Small businesses positively contribute to the character of our community, making it a special place to live.
How to Support Local Businesses During COVID-19
These are compelling reasons to direct holiday spending to the small businesses that add vibrancy and character to our community. Most businesses have altered how they do business in response to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean they are closed. In many cases, they have added online shopping or an ordering system to their services. This makes it possible to continue supporting local businesses, even if you are unable to physically shop or dine there. Think about the businesses that you typically buy from, restaurants you eat at, boutiques you purchase from for birthday or anniversary gifts - the list goes on! If you are unable to go to the store or they are physically closed, try visiting their website and Facebook pages to find out if they are taking orders online or over the phone. Most offer curbside pickup, delivery or virtual services now.
Continuing to purchase from these businesses, even in a reduced capacity, can help to keep people employed. Other suggestions include -
- Purchasing gift cards to be used at a later date
- Ordering dinner delivery for friends, family and colleagues you would normally have dined with
- Maintaining subscriptions and memberships with local organizations
- Use Facetime or Zoom to get bids from contractors for projects that can start immediately once the restrictions have been lifted
We Are In This Together
COVID-19 will pass and when it does, it is important for us to continue supporting one another. We don’t yet understand what the full economic impact of this will be, but we do know that we are strong as a community that supports one another. Small businesses add character to our communities and are an incredible local resource. They create jobs, strengthen the economy and create unique experiences and memories for our families. Losing small businesses is like losing a bit of ourselves. Please join us in supporting our local businesses on November 28 - and throughout the year!