If you have been out shopping lately at big box retailers, you may have noticed something for the first time in your life: empty shelves. It is a hard reality for many countries when their citizens are not used to such a sight.
Your local shops and small businesses need your help more than ever, and if they don’t get your revenue they may be gone forever. While there are restrictions in place that may only allow customers to get delivery or to-go orders, remember that when things get back to normal, well, your patronage of local shops and restaurants will determine how long they stay in business.
Here are my suggestions on how you can help:
- Dine out at a small, local restaurant. If there is a little bar-be-que place down at the corner where the owner’s kids work during school breaks, try and go there to eat a little more often than you usually do. The wages for that staff are probably spent in your neighborhood or close by. Yes, they may only have delivery these days, but that’s fine.
- Go to the corner grocery store. There are thousands of little bargain grocery stores within walking distance of local communities, so next time consider shopping there instead of driving to the next town to line up outside at the huge well-known store.
- Buy cupcakes at the small bakery. This sounds really good about now and I know of a little cupcake shop that also sells bread and other pastries. You probably have one nearby. The owner is probably one of your neighbors and they might have weekly specials or discounts.
- Buy from a food truck. I wish there were more of a these little restaurants because I can see and smell the fresh wonderful food that they make. I wish I had the name or phone number for the last one I visited down the street because I would contact them right now.
- Cookie or lemonade stand. Most neighborhoods have young children who are trying to raise money for a good cause, like a new book, a field trip or money to enter a math contest. It doesn’t cost much to spend money on what they are selling and everyone feels good about it.
- Nearby gas station. Do you often bypass the gas stop close by because the one across town sells the petrol for twenty cents less per gallon? Well, it could be that the one far away has the financial leverage to sell it at cost to lure customers in for the other products they sell. Every once in a while, stop at the small gas station and maybe stop in ad buy a few things.
- Door-to-door sales. Are you open-minded about people selling things in the neighborhood, or do you have a No-Soliciting sign on the door? Try to consider that people selling things and knocking on doors are just trying to make a living. Although you may not need or will not buy what they are offering, it is best to be nice and and polite to them.
- Pizza shops. People love pizza and it’s a great time out for the whole family. Lately, though, the costs seem kind of high. Try to find a local pizza shop that may be struggling and go there sometimes, even if you can only get it for pick-up or delivery. Ask for specials and discounts.
Do your best to remember that every small purchase you make is important, and big purchases are more important than that. We make choices with our money and those decision have an effect on which companies stay in business and which ones fade away. Make some choices today that help keep alive your corner stores, mom-and-pop shops, and local restaurants.