01 May 6 Ways to Support Local Businesses in Western Massachusetts
With the stay at home advisory in effect in Massachusetts, here are few creative ways to support small businesses.
As longstanding members of the local West Springfield, Chicopee, and Wilbraham MA communities, the McClure Insurance team has had the pleasure of working with and getting to know many of the small business owners in the area. The driven and dedicated men and women behind our favorite small businesses are essential to our local economy, which is why we must do what we can now to support them and ensure they are successful in the future.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the trajectory for many of us. Fortunately, the majority of us are safe and healthy at home, working remotely. However, for over 600,000 small business owners in Massachusetts, their livelihoods, finances, and dreams are on the line.
Last month, Governor Charlie Baker ordered the temporary closure of all non-essential businesses, including hair salons, fitness studios, theaters, and bowling alleys, for the foreseeable future. As a result, many business owners have either made the tough decision to turn off their lights until the viral outbreak clears or pivoted their efforts to comply with the social distancing protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As we all sit at home, six feet away from our extended family members and close friends, completing puzzles, hiking, and binge-watching reruns of The Office on Netflix, you may be wondering how you can support your community. Below are six creative things you can do to help local businesses weather the storm.
Idea #1: Order take-out or delivery on #TakeoutTuesday
If you have the ability, consider ordering a to-go meal from a local restaurant in your community on #TakeoutTuesday, or any day of the week for that matter. Many of our favorite eateries are getting creative and offering touchless curbside pick-up options as well as unique food specials and promotions during the pandemic. You may not be able to sit down and enjoy a pie at Frankie & Johnnie’s Pizza or the burnt ends from Theodore’s BBQ in Springfield, or the wings from Rail Trail Ale House in Southwick. However, if you continue to show your support and dedication now, you can help ensure that these local favorites can reopen once the advisory is lifted.
Idea #2: Participate in and pay for virtual services
Some businesses are currently offering online services, including therapists, personal trainers, financial planners, dance studio and yoga instructors, and tutors, via video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Some of these offerings may be free to the public. However, if you’re able, consider paying for a class or service, leaving a generous tip, or even making a lump sum donation to the business owner.
Idea #3: Purchase gift cards
Your favorite spa, barbershop, and clothing boutique are all likely closed due to the stay-at-home advisory set forth by Governor Baker. Unlike restaurants and gyms, businesses such as these are having a tougher time adapting and offering remote or touchless services that make sense for their business. Therefore, to support companies such as these, you may want to consider purchasing a gift certificate that you can redeem at a later date. The cash flow you’ll be able to provide to the business owner now while they are temporarily closed is essential and will likely play an integral part in their ability to reopen in the future.
Idea #4: Shop locally online
Instead of clicking on your Amazon app or ordering from a big box store for your essentials, check-in with the smaller shops in your area to see if they are selling what you need. For example, Rocky’s Hardware in Agawam may have cleaning and disinfecting products for sale, and Cerrato’s Pastry Shop in West Springfield may be willing to sell flour, eggs, and butter.
Idea #5: Leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp
Sharing kind words online, promoting a small business product or service on your social media page, or referring a company to your personal network is one of the best gifts you could give a small business owner. This simple task is not only free to you; it could potentially lead to the company’s next big sale.
Idea #6: Donate to your local food pantry
Many non-profit organizations in the area could benefit from charitable contributions during this time, including The Parish Cupboard in West Springfield and Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee. However, money and food are not the only donations that could make a significant impact on these non-profits and the people they serve. If you’re healthy, you may want to consider donating your time and resources to their cause.
Many of us are feeling financial strain due to COVID-19. However, if you need to buy something, we encourage you to think local first, and if you need to give yourself and your oven a break from dinner duty, consider ordering a hot meal from your favorite restaurant or bar. These small tasks will go a long way to ensure that our business communities thrive once the stay at home advisory is lifted.