Photo Credit: Artem Gavrysh
Local businesses are being required to shut down during the coronavirus lockdown across the entire country. While this will be temporary for some, others may go out of business and will be forced to close permanently. Although the government provides grants to small business owners to cover some costs, most are still feeling a financial strain. Local businesses need our support now more than ever, and there are various ways we can help them in the time of crisis.
1. Find out how your favourite local places are adopting during the lockdown.
Many small business owners across different industries have adapted to remote operations to provide their services online, and others are staying open for takeout and delivery. Check out social media of your favourite spots in your neighbourhood to find out how you can continue to enjoy their products and services during the lockdown.
2. Discover small businesses in your community that provide services online.
The Stay Home Toronto initiative features small business owners across many industries in Toronto that have adapted to provide their services and products while keeping social distancing. You can discover local grocery stores and bakeries in your neighbourhood that offer delivery, or take virtual classes from local fitness, yoga or dance studios. It’s free to get listed, so please share this initiative with small business owners in Toronto who offer delivery or online services during the quarantine.
3. Buy Gift Cards from restaurants and bars.
While other industries can operate remotely with relative ease, restaurants and bars are feeling the impact of the lockdown unlike most others. Many restaurant owners may already have the infrastructure in place to issue gift cards to customers. EatLater is free of charge initiative created by local Calgary businesses, to support bars and restaurants across Canada. You can purchase gift cards from your favourite restaurants and bars to help them now during this time. To get your favourite places listed, you can submit their names, logos and emails by contacting the EatLater team, or you can tag and use hashtag #EATLATER to promote your favourite spots and help spread the word.
“Our mission is to connect you with your favourite restaurants, so you can help them through difficult times and continue enjoying them in the future.”EatLater Team
4. Launch an initiative in your neighbourhood.
Locals for Local TO is an initiative created by a resident of Queen West neighbourhood to support local stores during the temporary shutdown. Residents of this neighbourhood can now order “goody bags” online that include items like fresh veggies, cookies, coffee and more. A portion of proceeds goes to food banks to give back to the community and locals in need.
5. Discover local artists and artisans.
Most local makers rely on trade shows and exhibitions to showcase their craft and sell more goods. As most of the events have been unexpectedly cancelled, craft makers were left with large batches of unsold inventory. You can find out what trade shows were postponed, and access artisan exhibitor profiles on the event webpage. One Of A Kind Show offers a full list of artisan profiles. You can browse through all the exhibitors and discover makers from all walks of life. OOAK also announced that they will be featuring 20+ makers from #ooak20 every day in their stories.
6. Advocate for your favourite local businesses.
Now is the time to give a shout-out to your favourite places and services on social media. You can share restaurant delivery menus from your favourite places, or repost the promotion that your local service providers are offering. Look out for any initiatives that help local shops increase awareness and gain exposure during this time.
Many brands and influencers are making efforts to promote small businesses through their social feeds. Like A Local is a project that was recently launched by Forsman & Bodenfors and The Media Kitchen, to give small businesses a big voice. To participate in this initiative, small business owners can create an Instagram post with the hashtag #LikeALocal to signal that they would like a little exposure from a Big Brand.
7. Contribute your skills.
If you are a web developer, designer, marketer, or a social media expert, offer your services to local businesses to help them with this transition. If you know someone who is starting an initiative, contribute your skills to help make a bigger impact.
To contribute your skills in web development, design or marketing, you can join a growing team at YYJLocalsForLocals. A recent project that was created by community-minded professionals to connect local businesses during the crisis with tech and marketing volunteers.
This is just a small list of little things we can do to support local businesses. If you have other ideas or if you would like to share your initiative, please comment below or get in touch. If you are a local business owner, please reach out, we would love to feature you in our next articles.