Shopping Small : How to Support the Local Businesses You Love in Challenging Times

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Well, friends, we’re nearly a couple weeks into social distancing. We’re starting to settle into our new normal. Restaurants are closed for dine-in services, schools are closed indefinitely, our inbox is filled daily with notices of new retail closures, and our streets are becoming more and more deserted.

Let’s face it, life is getting weird. 

While many of us struggle at home to find a new sense of normalcy, small business owners all throughout our community are worried about how they will pay their employees and keep their lights on. It’s a scary time for everyone, but for many small business owners, they are watching their livelihoods slip into uncertain territory. 

Tangible Ways to Support Local Milwaukee Businesses:

  1. Show Kindness and Patience – First, and most importantly, this is a stressful time for everyone. For small business owners, the uncertainty is really scary and we all need to be gentle with one another.
  2. Shop Online – If a small business has an online presence, shop online. This is a great time to get ahead on holiday shopping or pat yourself on the back for kicking quarantine’s butt with a little treat for yourself. Many of your favorite local boutiques are offering free shipping! 
  3. Gift Cards – Purchase a gift card for a local restaurant and plan a date night or girl’s night out for when the CDC lifts their social distancing guidelines. Many small businesses have had to close their doors for the foreseeable future and their loss of revenue will be detrimental. Gift card sales can make a huge distance and it might lift your spirits to look forward to fun in the future! Some restaurants have even started selling “bonds” where $25 now will be $30-40 in the summer!
  4. Eat Local – Look into purchasing a CSA (community supported agriculture) or egg share from a local farm. Show those family farms that we see their hard work in offering fresh produce to local families.   
  5. Dine from a Distance – Skip making dinner for the evening and choose a local restaurant who is still offering take-out or delivery to support. Bonus: take the time to leave a review on Yelp or Google!
  6. Caffeinate Safely – Skip the Folgers and go local for your caffeine fix! Local coffee shops are offering delivery on coffee & tea. Let’s face it, we all are going to need the caffeine!
    • Stone Creek Coffee is offering free delivery on orders of all sizes.
    • Colectivo is offering all coffee to be purchased online, including their weekly special.
    • Vennture Brew Co is still open at reduced hours for to-go sales in the morning and afternoon! Follow their Facebook for daily hours & offerings as well as some virtual fun!
    • Anodyne’s online store is stocked with coffee, mugs, gift cards, tea, cocoa and more!
    • Fiddlehead’s is closed until at least their first week in April, but they are offering free shipping!
  7. Plan ahead – Use some of your new found time at home to plan a birthday party for later in the year, look into summer camps or even plan a family outing at one of your favorite local play spaces for when this is all over. 
  8. Tackle Projects – Have some odd jobs around the house? Check out this Facebook group of local small business and restaurant employees who are out of work and are offering up their talents for side jobs. 
  9. Social Media Love – Follow small businesses on Instagram, like their page on Facebook, comment on their posts and share their promotions. This is a simple, free way to show small businesses that we care, we see them and we are here to support them. 

Now more than ever it is going to be important to support local small businesses. Together, we can get through this pandemic and help Milwaukee area small businesses bounce back in spite of these hardships.

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