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How to help local businesses crushed by coronavirus: 4 things you can do right now

Many local businesses may not survive the coronavirus pandemic. Your favorite shop may be among them.

How to help local businesses crushed by coronavirus: 4 things you can do right now
[Photo: Flickr user Omar Salvatierra Gracida]

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re one of the small business owners in your neighborhood, facing payroll and a rent bill in two weeks with little or no income. It’s apocalypse times. Over a third of Seattle businesses say they may need to close. It’s time for us all to do our parts. Here’s how:

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1. Pick your 5 favorite local businesses. Mine are two exercise studios, two restaurants, my hairdresser, and two stores. That’s more than five. Great.

2. Add two specialty stores to your list. No one is ordering jewelry or pet gear or ice cream right now.

3. Get them orders. For each business, text five friends who would like that business, and suggest that they order. “Today’s good deed is ordering from XYZ business!” Three ways to order:

  • Gift cards. Order future services or items—this is particularly painless if you will need the service anyway.
  • Call ’em. Need any item in their store? Just call and order. Pretty much every small business out there is willing to arrange a pickup or drop-off you’re comfortable with.  (Note: coronavirus lives on cardboard for up to 24 hours. So if you want to be really safe, wear gloves, then let it sit for a while.)
  • Order takeout. Every business that can is shifting to some form of delivery.

Remind your friends that the most helpful thing they can do is order local. For example, rather than ordering groceries, buy milk from the corner store and two pints from the local ice cream place.

4. Write love notes. “Dear Janine, Just a note to say how much I love your business, and want you to succeed. Please reach out and let me know how my friends and I can help.”

Next week: repeat. We’re all in this together.

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