By Susan Baldani
The Coronavirus has hit the country hard, and will unfortunately have lasting ramifications for quite some time. The economy has taken a severe hit, and many stores, especially those that are small and independently owned, have either gone out of business or are struggling to survive. So, once this crisis is over, what can we do to help?
Next time you’re out, take a stroll around your downtown. Look closely at the local businesses to be found there. We often drive by without giving them a second thought. In addition to the stores you may already patronize, focus on those you may never have taken the time to visit. Speak to the owners and salespeople and find out what they have to offer. You never know what you might find. If you see something you like, buy it, and then tell other people about it. Spread the word about these fine establishments – word of mouth is an effective form of advertising and doesn’t cost anything. I’ve often visited places because someone told me how wonderful the products and service were in those particular shops.
Pay careful attention to the advertisements in this and other local publications to find out what they actually have to offer. If some shops don’t exactly fit what you’re interested in or are selling things you don’t usually buy, try to support them anyway. For example, if you’re not a knitter but know someone who is, buy special yarn and needles as gifts from those shops that sell them. If you have never gone antiquing, but love the look of old and solid furniture, browse what these types of stores have in stock. If you’re a novice, you can also get all your questions answered about particular pieces or styles you’re interested in. The owners and salespeople in these small stores are usually very knowledgeable about their businesses.
Many of these local mom-and-pop stores have been fixtures in their communities for ages. The proprietors, some going back generations, have worked hard for countless years to build up their businesses and develop loyal customer bases. Small towns just wouldn’t be the same without them.
So, let’s show our support for these neighborhood treasures that can be found all across the country, in small towns and large, by buying locally and encouraging others to do the same. You’ll not only be doing a great service, but also have fun finding some unique and quality items to enjoy for years to come.
Written for The Country Register published throughout the U.S. and Canada.