On March 25th, 2020, the US Senate passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act which intended to speed up financial relief across the American economy. While it includes aid for various business sectors and individuals, it also increased government guarantee of the Small Business Act loans to 100% and allocates $377 billion to small businesses.
And, while businesses are eligible to receive lots of funding and aid, many are still struggling to stay afloat amidst the coronavirus crisis. Whether they’ve had to close after being deemed “non-essential businesses” or are taking massive profit losses due to a lack of customers during lockdowns, just 50% of small business owners say they’ll be able to continue operating in the next few months.
So, what can you do to support your local, small businesses during this pandemic? We’ve got a few tips for you.
1. Purchase Gift Cards
If you can’t make it out to support a local business at the moment due to quarantine or lockdown, then visit them online or call to ask about purchasing gift cards. This will help increase their cashflow currently while ensuring that, when things do open back up, they’ll be able to welcome visitors. Think about spending about as much as you’d normally spend on food at that specific place and continue to support them in that way. You might not be able to enjoy the food now, but it’s not a total loss as you’ll eventually use the gift cards to enjoy meals later.
2. Only Purchase Local
In many places where there are farmer’s markets and local produce stores, you should think about only purchasing locally if you can. Avoid going to major supermarkets such as Walmart, Target or Trader Joe’s. Instead, purchase local produce to support local farmers and your local agriculture industry (if there exists one in your area). And, make it a point to purchase delivery from local, smaller shops that might still remain open during this time, such as bakeries, independent pizza shops, and similar small businesses.
3. Order Delivery
Seeing as most restaurants have been deemed as “essential” businesses, they’re still open for delivery! Download a delivery app such as Grubhub or Postmates and support local restaurants by ordering delivery. This not only ensures that you’ll be able to support local restaurants, but it’s a great way to support local delivery drivers and other unemployed individuals who are having to alter their career paths in order to support their families. Be sure to request a contactless delivery and they’ll place the food outside your front door for you and ring the doorbell simply to let you know that it’s arrived. Prepare to tip at least 20%, which most apps are encouraging at the moment to continue to be able to support their delivery drivers.
4. Order From Local Online Businesses
This one is a bit tricky, as certain areas are recommending to avoid non-essential online purchases at the moment in order to avoid overloading postal workers with non-essential deliveries. However, ordering online from local, independent businesses is one way to help stimulate your local economy. This means continuing to order art from that Etsy shop you love, continuing to support your local bookstore by ordering their books online and continuing to support local artisanal communities by asking if they can deliver soaps, crafts and other goods to your home.
5. Spread the Word
More than anything else during this difficult time, we’ve seen massive displays of humanity via social media. Harness the power of social media to spread the word of a local business you support. If you know a very small bakery in your town, for example, share their Facebook page with your friends. Or, look for ways to donate to local businesses that others in your social media network might be sharing as well. At the very least, use the power of kindness to send your favorite local businesses a nice message online to show your support. During these trying times, a simple note or share can make a lot of difference.
Join the Cheese Team in Support
Not sure how to help your local businesses during the coronavirus crisis? Join us in helping support local students. We will be giving 20 students $50 each for their weekly groceries. And this won't be a one-time effort. In the next following months, we will continue donating our lunch budget to help more people.
Along with the special giveaway, we're also contributing to the SoCal tech community's gofundme to donate protective gear to SoCal hospitals. If you're interested and able, please join our effort to support healthcare workers on the front lines. Because we’re interested in doing more to support local communities, we’ve also decided to donate 5 cents to a pool to help people in need every time you swipe your Cheese debit card.
It’s a great way to maximize your own savings while also ensuring that you can help those in need. Interested? Sign up today to join the Cheese team in support and begin to unlock savings on top of it all.