Give & Take: Five Easy Ways to Support Local and Ensure the Businesses You Know and Love Stay Afloat

Hallie Erlich  Follow

May is Small Business Month. In a year when an overwhelming number of businesses were presented with unique challenges and struggled to keep their doors open, with some even having to close permanently, it’s more important than ever for us to continue supporting our local small businesses. Better yet, it’s even easier than you think.

As someone who grew up with a parent who owned a small invitations and stationary business, I know firsthand the importance of supporting local versus purchasing goods or services from the typical “big-box store” when you can.

Here are five easy ways to support local and help the businesses you know, and love, continue to stay afloat:

  • Support local restaurants. Next time you’re planning to order in takeout or delivery, consider calling the restaurant directly to place your order. Third party delivery apps, such as GrubHub, Seamless, UberEats and DoorDash typically charge restaurants a commission, ultimately cutting into their profit margins. You’d be surprised how many local restaurants offer free delivery too, or rewards for purchasing directly on their website.
  • Purchase a gift for a friend, or even yourself (self-care is important!) on Etsy. I love using Etsy when I need to purchase a gift for someone, whether it’s something personalized or I need a creative, unique idea for a family member that “has everything they need!” Etsy helps entrepreneurs start, manage, and scale their businesses and offers a range of products across categories from jewelry to crafts to accessories. Just recently, I purchased a monogrammed beach tote as a birthday gift for a friend who was heading on a trip. She loved the thoughtfulness of the gift and I loved being able to support a local entrepreneur and contribute to the growth of their business - and they were so appreciative!
  • Support local bookstores. There is no doubt bookstores have been hit particularly hard with the shift towards sites like Amazon. Take a walk and find your local shop or check out https://bookshop.org/ to find and support local, independent bookstores near you.
  • Skip the Starbucks. I realize this might be difficult for some who rely on their Starbucks fix each morning, and I won’t deny that I too often like the convenience of using the Starbucks app on my phone. However, I will also actively go out of my way to find a local coffee shop whenever I can instead of supporting a larger corporation. You can find locally owned, independent coffee shops in almost any city you visit – support these places when you can (and treat yourself to a blueberry scone while you’re at it!)
  • Finally, resist the urge to shop on Amazon. Of course, Amazon is a quick and efficient way to get what you need, fast. The next time you’re about to purchase something on Amazon, ask yourself if you can support a local store in your community instead and get what you need.

This weekend, try to make it a point to support local in your neighborhood – you’ll be glad you did!  

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