“One of the most significant inequities of the pandemic has been the impact on small business owners and their employees who have faced significant restrictions.” ~ Minister Bethlenfalvy
It is common knowledge that COVID-19 has greatly affected main street businesses – that’s especially true in Uptown Waterloo. Following on the footsteps of almost six years of construction, over the past 14 months, we’ve seen many shops struggle and have to close their doors due to the negative impacts the pandemic has had on our economy.
On the bright side, it’s great to witness how our Uptown Waterloo community has brought awareness to worldwide movements such as #supportlocal and #chooselocal and we think it’s time to step up our game and double down on that support.
Maximize your support for small and medium businesses using these awesome tips!
Before you hit “place order” with an e-commerce giant, find out whether a local retailer offers the same item. While you can get many things online, consider placing a phone order with a small business or going for a walk, dropping into a store and keeping your mask on to shop – when it’s safe to do so, of course!
Go to the Source
There are always times when you need delivery. But on other days, think twice about how you order takeout. Rather than using a delivery app, ask for curbside pickup. Delivery services like Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats charge restaurants fees that can reduce already thin margins.
Help bolster a business’s social media presence by “liking” independent shops on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Write positive Google reviews, post photos generously of your purchases and don’t forget to tag the businesses!
Become a Small Biz Philanthropist
You can double the effect of philanthropic efforts by involving small businesses whenever possible. Order meals for essential workers from independent restaurants, shop local when buying for clothing drives and even if it’s a bit more expensive, purchase from local markets for food drives.
Loyalty counts! Service businesses — including personal trainers and nail and hair salons — have especially been affected by the pandemic since they are among the trickiest to reopen. Gift cards help, but so does rebooking and generous tipping for the ones that are open.
Pay The Full Price!
Everyone loves a discount, but perhaps now is not the time. If you can afford it, pay full price.
Participate in Community Efforts
While the pandemic has left many feeling isolated, local business and organizations like Business Improvement Area’s (BIA’s) are trying to fill the void with socially distanced community programs that can spur economic activity. As an example, check out the Hughes Lane Art Walk we launched last year! We’ve also begun creating specialty trails like out Uptown Green Trail and Chocolate Trail that you can do on your own time and we are exploring more outdoor, interactive activities for that same reason. And we haven’t forgotten about patio season which will be in full swing (we hope) in the next few weeks.
Offer Your Skills/Volunteer Your Time
If you’re an accountant, a lawyer, a banker, or a digital marketing specialist, to name just a few, local businesses may welcome your help.
Last, but surely not the least, be kind – to others and yourself. Employers are under enormous, sometimes existential, pressure right now. When you can, share emotional support, ask retailers how they are holding up and inquire about employees who may now be unemployed.
You may have heard some of these suggestions before – however, we hope you will choose one to do this week and take your small business support to the next level – and encourage others to do the same. Every bit helps.