I hate to be all doom and gloom, but the fact is that many small businesses won't survive the shutdowns as of late. I'm not too worried about the big box stores and chains; they will take a hit but most will survive. It's your favorite local restaurants and hangouts, the sweet little boutiques, the third-wave coffee shops, the mom and pop shops, all of the businesses that give your community its personality that will suffer the most. If you want a post-virus world that includes local and indie businesses, not just chain retailers, now is the time to act (especially if you're workig from home at the moment). Support small businesses now so they will still be around to patronize later. How can you help? We have some suggestions.
Buy gift certificates
Go to the company's website if they have one, or call if they don't. Purchase gift certificates now, and use them when they re-open for business. This is a great idea for restaurants, mom and pop operations, coffee shops, salons, and spas. I purchased a gift card for my local salon since all of the salons in my state are now closed by law. I'll be using it when they open back up (as soon as possible, as I'll certainly be in need of a haircut by then!)
Place online orders
Many of your favorite local boutiques, coffee roasters, bakeries, florists, and other stores will have a website where you can simply continue your regular shopping. Even if you have to pay a small shipping fee, it will be worth it to help keep the business afloat. Many local businesses are getting creative and allowing customers to place orders and pick them up in person with curbside service.
Get takeout or delivery
Restaurants that are closed for dine-in are still permitted to do takeout or delivery (at the moment). As long as this is an option, take advantage. If you do end up standing in line for your takeout, please don't crowd around the register. Keep your distance — it won't make your food take any longer. And remember to tip — yes, even for takeout! Your servers depend upon tips for their livelihood. If the restaurant offers delivery, great, that's another option. If the restaurant doesn't offer delivery, DoorDash or Postmates may be an option. Just remember to tip your driver either way.
Don't forget about indie devs
Even app developers, particularly the smaller "indie" or independent devs are suffering from all that's going on. So, continue supporting your favorites. Now is the time to spring for those paid apps, in-app purchases, subscriptions, or even in-app tips. Not only will the apps provide much-needed entertainment and information for you, but you'll be supporting a small business.
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