Boost Local Businesses Virtually

5/6/20

Since the Coronavirus pandemic impacts our local economies as well as our health, governments have started rolling out measures to stimulate the economy and support businesses. 

We all know that local businesses that aren’t considered essential services are suffering during this financial crisis. They’ve had to find ways to reduce their expenses and mitigate the huge dent the crisis is making in their revenue. Many are closing their doors or furloughing some or all of their employees. But what else are they doing to survive? They’re adapting and doing what they can to help others! 

In Canada, non-profits and businesses are partnering to support short-term emergency needs and future recovery efforts. And they’re coming up with innovative ways to help local entrepreneurs and local communities. In Windsor, Ontario, for example, the “Feed the Frontline” campaign has so far raised $230,000 to provide meals to frontline healthcare workers, in addition to giving struggling local restaurants a much-needed boost.

Consumers can also help to support small local businesses by making informed choices with their spending.  Here are some tangible things you can do if you have money to spend:

– Order takeout from your favourite local restaurant. With mandatory social distancing in effect in most provinces and territories, many restaurants are only able to serve customers through takeout and delivery, so ordering a tasty meal this way helps them keep some of their staff employed. 

– Purchase gift cards. You can often buy gift cards online to use once a store reopens. Consider giving a gift card to a loved one who has to celebrate their birthday in lockdown. They’ll be happy to use their card once the situation improves. Double your impact by purchasing gift cards from small businesses owned by women, especially women of colour, who are being hit harder by this pandemic due to structural inequities that drive racial and gender disparities in things like access to capital and low-interest loans. Buying from these businesses will help them keep their staff employed and boost the local economy.

– Buy online, but buy local! Nearly everyone shops online, and this can be an enjoyable way to spend some of your extra free time. Just be sure to start by shopping online at locally owned stores. Many of them will be offering promotions that will make your virtual shopping trip even more fun.

– Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture program. The COVID-19 pandemic is also devastating for many small farmers. Since you’re probably spending more time cooking at home, consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA is one way to connect directly with smaller farmers and support them at a very uncertain time. Hit the web and search for a CSA near you!

Whether we’re in lockdown or not, we want to take care of our loved ones and ourselves…and enjoy good food too! Why not do it safely from home while also supporting your local economy? 

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