St. Augustine has always encouraged shopping local. We have so many incredible retailers and restaurants, shops and stores owned by locals that this really isn’t often hard to do. However, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, that commitment to supporting local becomes more challenging. How are you supposed to reach out to local business when you’re stuck home social distancing and leaving only for the necessities? Well we have a few ideas. There are still ways that you can support local from afar and ease this period of economic strain for local businesses. And when it’s all over, you can go back out and give them more support than ever.
BUY A GIFTCARD
This is the easiest way to support local while sitting at home. Purchasing a gift card allows businesses to maintain some income while they’re closed – and even just a little bit can help a struggling family. Plus, you’ll have something fun to look forward to when things get back to normal.
PRE-BOOK THEIR SERVICES
You don’t necessarily have to purchase a gift card or pre-buy services. You can simply go ahead and book a service for when business resumes – like hair, nails, massages, even family photography. For service-related businesses, seeing future income that will be coming in later in the year can help owners and employees remain optimistic.
ORDER TAKEOUT AND EAT ON THE BEACH
While not the time for sitting in restaurants and eating with other diners, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some local cuisine. Most local restaurants offer takeout, so it’s easy to pop in and grab something to go. Then head with the family or a friend or by yourself (truly committing to the social distance) and enjoy a picnic on the beach.
USE GRUBHUB OR BITESQUAD FOR DELIVERY
If leaving the house for a picnic doesn’t appeal to you, you can always order in. Delivery services like Grubhub, Bitesquad, and others will grab your order from a local restaurant and bring it right to your door. Business for restaurants and delicious food for you? It’s a win-win.
DONATE TO A LOCAL ORGANIZATION
Nonprofits and charity organizations have taken a hit from events being cancelled. Now’s a great time to lend some support and help make up for the loss of funds, if you have anything to spare.
DONATE TO A RESTAURANT WORKERS ORGANIZATION
In an industry that relies heavily (if not almost exclusively) on tips, restaurants having reduced service or shutting down entirely can be devastating for hospitality workers. Consider donating to an organization (like Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation) that has a relief fund for those affected by COVID-19.
FOLLOW BUSINESSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTERS
Stay up to date with the latest happenings from your favorite shops, restaurants, and other businesses. You may also get updates on ways to help out while they’re closed or reducing hours (like online promotions).
WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW
How often do you scan the reviews before heading to a shop or restaurant or securing someone’s services? We’d say pretty often. But too often, we forget to leave reviews for good experiences. So while you’re stuck at home, now’s a good time to write a review for a local favorite. This can help boost their business later on.
GIVE THEM A REFERRAL
If the opportunity comes up to refer a small business you’ve enjoyed working with, share their name and contact information. Word of mouth and personal referrals help build trustworthy buzz and can bring new prospects digitally to the business. You’re still chatting with your friends and family and posting to social media (even if you aren’t hanging out in person), so use some of that time to make that recommendation.
WEAR THEIR PROMO PRODUCTS
We all have pens, t-shirts, mugs, and more that we’ve gotten from local businesses over the years. So use that mug when you share your morning Instagram update (#socialdistancing). Wear their t-shirt when you drop by the grocery store. Even though the people who see it may be limited right now, you’ll be helping their logo and information get in front of potential new customers.
OFFER TO WATCH THEIR KIDS
With schools closed right now, childcare can be complicated for small business owners whose space is still open. If this applies to one of your friends, consider a babysitting offer to make things a little easier.
How are you supporting local business from home? Let us know in the comments below!