As someone who is married to the owner of a locally-owned business, my support of these enterprises is a personal one. It’s not easy starting your own business and even harder to maintain it, especially when the coronavirus dominates conversations on the personal level to the national one.
In unprecedented times like these, where “self-quarantine” is the latest buzz phrase, it’s important to keep your locally-owned small businesses in mind. While I was driving around town last night, I was shocked to find the parking lot of one of Warsaw’s most popular restaurants nearly empty. It should have been overflowing with people enjoying dinner.
Buy Gift Cards/Certificates or Shop Online
I’m not here to tell you to go out and visit your favorite restaurant or shop at your favorite downtown shop. That decision needs to be made by you. What you can do, however, is buy gift cards. If you have a restaurant you normally visit but have chosen to stay home, go online or give them a call and buy a gift card. If you would normally visit a local shop this weekend or work out at your local gym but you’d rather sit it out at home, reach out to them and purchase a gift certificate. They receive those all-important funds immediately. The internet is an amazing thing – let’s try and utilize it to help support our neighbors. They need it.
For those of you willing to interact a little more, many restaurants are now offering (or have offered) delivery service and/or curbside delivery along with their well-established take-out service. Even garages are offering to come pick up your car and return it if it needs maintenance. Take advantage of these services and help keep their businesses open.
Leave a Larger Tip Any Chance You Get
Last but not least, leave a larger tip than you normally do. In situations where you normally wouldn’t, leave one. Most employees in the service industry survive on those tips. It’s hard enough to get by with tips. Imagine supporting a family at $2.50 an hour without them. You can’t.
The people who own local businesses are exactly that – local. They are your neighbor, your friend, you acquaintance, your family member. They are the people who take the money you spend with them and reinvest it in our community. Locally-owned businesses don’t have a national corporate office to keep them afloat. They only have you.
Remember, we’re all in this together. When this is all over, we can take those gift cards and certificates and party together as well!