Tips for Shopping Local during COVID

“Shop local” was a popular mantra even before the hit of COVID-19, but now more than ever, local shops and shop owners need our economic and moral support.

Small businesses are the backbone of every local economy. They employ local workers, spur innovation and creativity, enhance the environment of the city, and attract new residents. Right now, small businesses are being hit the hardest by COVID-19, so it is up to consumers to continue to support the local businesses we love most in our communities.

Here are some tips for supporting your local businesses during quarantine.

Think local before you shop online.

Most of us are shopping online for both the essentials AND the fun purchases right now. Before you hit the big box stores online, check your local shops’ social media accounts to see if they’re currently providing delivery or curbside pickup for phone or online orders. Some stores are also expanding their offerings to include products that families need most right now. Check out your favorite restaurants for frozen meals, your local toy store for kids’ educational materials, and your favorite boutiques for virtual shopping.

Share your support on social media.

We all know that word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tactics. To maximize the reach of your support, post on social media about a great experience you had at a local store. Show off new purchases or give a shoutout to a delivery person. Your friends and family may not have heard that a particular shop is offering delivery or pick up, so think of yourself as a micro-influencer and share the news.

Check out posts from your local online magazines for inspiration and ways to connect.

Shopping local is important, but so is reading local. Many online lifestyle and news magazines are posting up-to-date statuses of shops and local businesses, and have tips for ways to support them. Many businesses are doing virtual events, and local magazines will likely be posting these calendars and sharing the news as well.

Participate in virtual events hosted by local businesses and nonprofits. 

Scheduled banquets and galas are putting the party on hold and instead holding ceremonies online via zoom and other apps. Many nonprofits are holding silent auctions via apps like OneCause, which allow bidders to look at each item and place their bids virtually. Small businesses are also hosting how-to classes online for a fee, so instead of buying your favorite dish or a new piece of home decor, make it yourself and learn a new skill at the same time.

Be smart with your money - but continue to spend it.

If you are financially able, it’s important to continue to buy from local businesses. Be thoughtful about how you spend your money, of course, but still continue to spend - even if it’s a small amount. If we all spend a little locally, it will make a big difference. Tip delivery people and businesses a little extra. Try to order one meal a week from your favorite local restaurant.

If we all continue to prioritize small businesses in our shopping routines, our communities will continue to thrive, and may bounce back more quickly from the crisis caused by COVID-19. Shop from your friends, family and neighbors, and share your support on social media.