7 Ways to Support Local Businesses

Small businesses are a significant part of our community. From volunteering to underwriting events to supporting fundraisers, our small businesses have always been there to help us out. Now, it’s our turn to show support to small businesses, many of which have been struggling due to mandated closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

1. Show support for the Itasca Strong movement to celebrate the importance of small businesses in the Itasca Area. Tag restaurants and other businesses in social media posts when you patronize them using #ItascaStrong. You can even download Itasca Strong graphics to display on your social media pages.

2. Shop local and get your holiday shopping done early! Many local stores are still open for business online, over the phone, and for curbside pickup. Purchase gifts for future holidays and birthdays while supporting local businesses now – you’ll be doing yourself and a local business owner a favor.

3. Purchase gift cards. Gift card purchases are a great way to support businesses, especially those like stores and salons that are currently closed. Buying a gift card puts cash into business owners’ hands, allowing them to pay their rent, staff, and other expenses, and it gives you something to look forward to!

4. If an appointment gets cancelled, choose credit over a refund if possible. Rescheduling services gives a business owner income to rely on, lessening the impact of closures due to social distancing.

5. Get takeout or delivery from locally-owned restaurants. A number of restaurants and cafes are open for low-contact takeout and delivery. Try picking up a meal from somewhere you’ve always wanted to try, or support an old favorite. Patronizing restaurants now will help to ensure that they stay open in the future!

6. Subscribe to your local paper. The economic impact of COVID-19 has led to fewer dollars being spent on advertising, threatening media sources that rely on income from selling ad space. In a time of social isolation and constantly-changing news, it’s more important than ever to keep alive the journalism that keeps us connected and informed.

7. Pick up popcorn at your local movie theater. Theaters are finding creative ways to adapt to social distancing guidelines by offering popcorn, snacks, and gift cards for curbside pickup. Mann Theatres are giving back to their community by donating 10% of proceeds to pandemic response funds all over Minnesota, including the Itasca Area Community Response Fund.

After we make it through this crisis, continue to support small businesses – when you can, shop at local stores and visit locally-owned restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, visit museums, and support local artists by buying their work, visiting exhibitions, and attending performances.