Local businesses are the heartbeat of our area. They bring growth and innovation, provide employment, support the local community, and care for their neighbors. They are what makes our corner of Charlotte so unique and sought after.
We all have experienced the wild ride that has been 2020, but local businesses have been hit the hardest in many ways. Most are feeling a financial strain and are worried about the future, so it’s a good time to remind ourselves that we can help. Whether it is with time or money, your support, big or small, can make an important impact.
Here are just 10 ways to support local to get you started:
Place an Order
There is a reason this is the most obvious way to support your favorite businesses – it is effective! Local businesses that have re-opened for in-person services have safety measures in place. Many boutiques, like Moxie Mercantile in Plaza Midwood, offer online shopping via their website, while other shops, including Slate Interiors on Central Ave., post new inventory on their social media accounts. Plus, takeout and delivery orders are a great way to continue to show some love to your favorite restaurants.
Schedule a Service for Later
Coronavirus has prompted a lot of cancellations from large events to personal reservations. Even if you aren’t quite ready to dive back into services you have skipped quite yet, consider making an advanced booking at places like Shine Salon. Knowing that future work is coming their way can help local businesses alleviate some anxiety.
Post Positive Reviews
Posting a positive review or personal testimonial on Yelp, Google, or other online platforms can help direct new clients to these businesses. People want to see if others have had good experiences and can use that feedback to help inform their own decisions. It is amazing to read through the 250+ positive reviews for Villani’s Bakery in Chantilly and The Fig Tree’s 500 5-star reviews. This is one of the easiest ways to show support – no money required and very little time.
Skip the Refund
If you had tickets to a local event or show that was canceled, consider writing it off as a donation instead of asking for your money back. Also, consider continued payment of your memberships or subscriptions, if you are financially able, even if the business has limited services or their operations have been temporarily suspended. A gesture like this can make a big difference to businesses trying to weather the storm.
Share on Social Media
Social media is another free way to show your support. By posting about a local spot or even sharing one of their posts with your followers, businesses gain further brand exposure and engagement. Popbar Charlotte’s Instagram feed is full of eye candy and perfect for re-sharing during these hot summer days. One creative idea is to encourage your friends to join you in posting about 1 local business they love every day for a week. You can even have a theme for each day or post polls to encourage added participation.
Buy Gift Cards
Gift cards make the perfect small thank you or thinking of you presents for family, friends, and neighbors during this pandemic. Even if a small business doesn’t have actual gift cards available for purchase, many will issue a gift certificate or personalized credit for future use. Gift cards from Mimosas Nail Bar in Villa Heights are always a crowd-pleaser in our office!
Donate COVID-19 Supplies
Re-opened stores are faced with operational challenges as they follow state health mandates and CDC guidelines. Gifting disposable masks, hand sanitizer, or other supplies to local organizations allow them to spend their funds on other business needs.
Offer your Expertise
Are you a photographer, website developer, social media expert, or financial/business consultant? These are just a few of the professional services that could benefit almost any local business. Offer your knowledge in the form of a free consultation or donate your services so they can benefit from your expertise.
Tip Service Workers Extra
In industries like food and beverage, many employees make the majority of their income from customer tips. If you can, tip a little extra including for takeout and delivery the next time you visit Sunflour Baking Company, Divine Barrel, Haberdish, The Bohemian, and your other favorite establishments. It will have an instant and direct impact on that individual.
This may sound like the opposite of helping out, but it can be the most important. If you are feeling ill at all or have any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home. It will ensure that employees stay healthy and businesses can remain open.
Cover Photo: The Fig Tree Restaurant