March 31, 2020

Supporting Local Business during the Shut Down

We’ve talked many times about how our small businesses support our Edmonds community. Not only do they provide employment and support the local economy—they donate to our auctions, they sponsor youth sports teams, and they are part of what makes Edmonds so special.

Remember, money spent locally circulates locally. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducted a study in Maine that found of $100 spent at an independent local business, $45 was then recirculated within the local community. Compare that to only $14 of $100 spent at big-box retailers or national chains.

Spending our money with local businesses matter. They’ve done so much to support Edmonds, now it’s our turn to show up and support them.

With the Safe at Home order, many of our businesses have adapted to the new normal and are offering takeout/delivery, online shopping, and using platforms like Zoom or Facebook to stay connected to clients. And while several businesses have temporarily shut their doors, they are still offering online retail or gift cards.

Below you will find a variety of ways you can give back to local businesses during this difficult time.

Shop forward–buy gift cards and more!

Purchasing gift cards to use later provides much-needed revenue now to our businesses. This is especially important to retailers that are completely shut down and restaurants who (even with offering takeout) are experiencing significant drops in revenue.

Plus, buying gift cards online is a perfect solution for people who are in self-isolation and not comfortable venturing out of their homes right now.

A side benefit, and why businesses like to offer gift cards, is that 70% of people will spend more than the dollar amount of the card when they redeem it.

Most retailers and restaurants offer gift cards but also inquire with other service-based businesses like spas, fitness trainers, computer/IT services and more.

Pre-book and pay for beauty/spa appointments

One of the hardest hit industries is the spa, hair, and nail salon businesses who are in a complete shutdown.

While we can’t get our normal treatments, services, and upkeep done right now, we can support our technicians, estheticians, and stylists through this crisis by pre-booking and pre-paying for those services now. And don’t forget to tip!

Keep your subscriptions and memberships

While gyms and fitness studios have temporarily shuttered their doors, monthly memberships make up the bulk of their income. If it’s possible to continue paying your monthly membership, it’s a great way to show continued support.

Many trainers and fitness instructors have taken to sharing workouts on social media so you can still keep your fitness goals on track, too.
Other businesses that offer monthly subscriptions or memberships also include some spa services, car wash/detailing, news publications, and more.

Give positive reviews online

For far too many people, the shutdown has resulted in loss of work or financial uncertainty. And despite wanting to, some of us aren’t able to support businesses with buying takeout or gift cards right now–which is understandable.

One easy and no-cost way to give back to our small businesses is to take some time and leave positive reviews for them online. We all know that many times people are only compelled to leave reviews after negative experiences. Now is a great time to share the great experiences you’ve had at our local businesses.

Sites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Yelp, Angie’s List and Facebook are great places to share the love. In fact, TripAdvisor is one of the most influential review sites that travelers use. Millions of dollars is spent in Edmonds each year from out-of-town guests as well as regional day trippers. Once the stay at home order is lifted, we want to make sure people start to take trips back to Edmonds!

Continue to order food delivery or takeout

Getting takeout or delivery from a favorite place has been one source of comfort in this anxious time. And the restaurants are so grateful for customers who’ve been able to support them in this way.

Check with your restaurant of choice to learn their preferred procedure as well as updated hours or if they’ve adopted a more limited menu. Some are offering online orders with curbside pickup, some have take-out windows set up, and others are asking for phone-in orders.

One recent development is a change to state liquor control laws where establishments can now offer cocktail kits, beer, and wine to go along with your meal. Please remember, all laws are still in place regarding drinking and driving so you do need to wait to imbibe until you are back at home!

Delivery services like UberEats have been offering $0 delivery fees and some buy one, get one promotions for our local restaurants, too.

Donate to nonprofits

With fundraising gatherings canceled for the foreseeable future and many nonprofits seeing a drastic uptick in needs/asks from the community, making donations is a critical need.

Financial contributions do allow organizations to stay flexible and adaptive to an ever-changing landscape but some nonprofits do have specific asks of tangible goods like food, diapers, and other household items.

Stay up to date

Several online sources have sprung into action to provide information about ways we can continue to support each other, and our businesses, through the COVID-19 crisis.

Love Edmonds is a partnership between Visit Edmonds and the Edmonds Downtown Alliance. My Edmonds News has a resource guide that they will be launching soon. And Keep Edmonds Strong is a community-supported hub that will have links to many resources.

The bottom line–now is the time to ask how you can help. Reach out to the companies you do business with and ask them what you can specifically do to support them. Stay healthy, Edmonds. We are in this together.

By Kelsey Foster, photos by Matt Hulbert

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