Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Shop Local

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. Since the shelter-in-place restrictions have been in effect, communities across the globe have shifted dramatically. As we are trying to adapt to the new norms like remote work, Zoom conferences, social distancing, and staying home, local small businesses have been greatly affected. 

One way that we, as individuals, can regain a sense of control and normalcy is to support and empower our local communities in this time of need. Our favorite coffee shops, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants are the lifeblood and foundation of the towns that we live in. At RoHo, we believe in the power of buying local: embracing what makes your community unique, environmental-consciousness, creating jobs, and nurturing a sense of community through financial and social empowerment. 

Small businesses are essential to our local and global economies and provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for its workers. They uplift and unify their communities. And here’s 11 ways you can shop local, even during the pandemic. 

  • Order-In
        1. Many restaurants are still offering their services through deliver and pickup. And instead of ordering through a third-party service, like GrubHub or UberEats, ordering directly from the place of business ensures these delivery service companies aren’t taking a cut from the employees who need it most right now. Call or check online to know which restaurants are still open. 

  • Tip more
      1. If you have the means to do so, tip more than 25%. Delivery workers are vulnerable employees. 

  • Buy online
        1. This includes local grocers and specialty stores that offer the same products you can find at a national chain. If your favorite local shop sells their products online, buy them -- even if they’re out of stock or you won’t be able to receive them right away. 

  • Buy gift cards or store credit
        1. Pay now and shop later. For businesses who may be closed or out of stock right now, this is a great way to financially support your favorite local eateries and shops. 

  • Check which services have transitioned online
        1. This includes online fitness or yoga classes, therapy, personal trainers, tutoring, music lessons for your kids, financial advising, coaches, lawyers, and many, many more. Do your research and find ways that you can continue supporting these businesses, as well as living your day-to-day life.

  • Keep paying membership and subscriptions
      1. If you’ve already paid for a class or service that was cancelled, instead of taking a refund, donate that money to the organization or see if you can postpone it. 

    RoHo - A clothing rack full of clothes

  • Leave online reviews
        1. Twitter, Instagram, Tripadvisor, email, or call them directly. Follow, like, and share updates on how local businesses are transitioning during this time, such as new store hours, across social media. 

  • Are you a freelance worker?
        1. If you write, design or develop websites, or are an expert at social media, continue offering your services. Reach out to local businesses that may not have an online presence set up and help them transition during this time.

  • Share extra products
        1. Do you have a pantry-full of hand sanitizer and cleaning solution? Donate and share these amenities with businesses who might need it. 

  • Continue paying service employees
        1. If you have means, we need to support the people who clean our homes, do our laundry, style our hair, and take care of our kids. They need us and we need them.

  • Give a donation.
  • We’re living in an unprecedented time. Right now, we may only have the ability to give back, support, and empower each other. Support small businesses and shop local. 

    Thanks to our friends who inspired this article:

    1. https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/support-small-business-coronavirus
    2. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-help-small-local-businesses_n_5e7140b1c5b6eab7793e2321
    3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/03/18/coronavirus-support-local-businesses-buy-gift-cards-shop-local-column/5074635002/
    4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2020/03/22/15-ways-to-support-local-business-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown/#352b46df1b8f
    5. https://www.independentwestand.org/what-happens-when-you-shop-local/