February 4, 2021 by Dave Bundy, Owner of Stow Fitness Center
In the Fall, I visited Portsmouth, NH. I love that city that bustles with the vibe of unique shops. The #shoplocal vibe is a cornerstone of Portsmouth’s economy. The same with our neighboring town of Maynard. Their economic revitalization has been directly tied to the vision and commitment of locally-owned businesses. The fact is, small businesses and local shops are the cornerstones of most towns and cities – albeit, they might be more spread out in many zip codes. But, they are an imperative component of a healthy, local economic system.
Small Businesses Give Back
This COVID pandemic has slaughtered many independent businesses on Main Street, USA – where over 1.5 million jobs are made. Beyond jobs, unique goods and services, and occupied storefronts, these independent businesses regularly cycle money back into community groups and organizations. It is estimated that small businesses donate an average of 6% of annual profits. Take a moment to notice the back of your town’s youths’ jerseys at the next baseball game. Little Leagues, and numerous other youth sports, would not exist without the sponsorship from local businesses. Yearbooks wouldn’t be published, civic groups could collapse, and over are at risk throughout the United States.
Local Businesses Need Locals
Politicians like to talk about the importance of small and local businesses. They often speak to the necessity of small and local businesses in public speeches. But, the success of these businesses depends on us – as consumers. These businesses don’t have national organizations supporting them. They can’t sell stock on the open market to generate funds. They rely upon the patronage and support of local citizens. And, I for one would find the loss (or reduction) of locally owned businesses and small shops a great loss.
Simple Things We Can All Do
COVID restrictions make it challenging to explore, enjoy, and visit local spots. But, don’t let that stop us from supporting them so that we ensure their survival during this historical time. Here are simple things that you and I can do to prioritize our local economy:
1. Gift Certification, please!
If that local restaurant favorite is not offering dine-in, or you’re simply not comfortable quite yet, do a gift certificate. It will not expire and you are ensuring a revenue source now. It can be a simple amount and you could purchase the gift certificate or gift card over the telephone. For instance, get a gift card in the amount of 2 lunches at Emma’s Cafe. The Maynard Outdoor Store is eager to arrange a gift card for you for the value of a T-shirt. Or, or look up a local dog groomer in the area to get a gift card or 5-wash package. You can show these local treasures that you care and help keep the doors open. We even have gift cards that can be applied for any membership, program, personal training session, or any in-the-gym purchase. Check it out here or call us at 978.897.5300 to purchase a customized dollar value gift card.
2. OLO! (order online)
Most local businesses offer a variety of services online. Use those products and services online from a local shop that is owned by one of your neighbors. For example, we have expanded our membership benefits to include a suite of digital programs, including on-demand workout libraries and Live Stream classes on Zoom and Facebook. Similarly, restaurants and other businesses offer online ordering and curbside delivery. Make an online order for a Mexican dinner from El Huipil in Maynard. Something beautiful can brighten up your day with an online order from the Flower Pot.
3. Give a shout out!
Use social media to promote the places that you enjoy. Did you feel safe dining indoors last week? Let people know. Did you get exceptional service somewhere? Again, let others know. Online reviews and mentions on Facebook and Instagram are extremely important to small businesses. Did Colonial Spirits bring in that wine that you had somewhere last week? Praise their customer service. Is the coffee at Emmas better than the huge conglomerate? Spread the word with a Facebook shout-out and an Instagram tag. Follow it up with a positive review on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Small businesses are run by your friends and neighbors. You know them personally. Can you say that about Massive Company XYZ? We need you more than ever and you are the key to whether or not many of these businesses survive.