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How to support small businesses this holiday season

We don’t need to tell you that 2020 has been a surreal, weird time worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into how we live from day-to-day, and it’s been tough for everyone.

Not only are people struggling due to the unexpected economic hit we sustained, but so are small businesses. Holidays are usually a great time for businesses to make money, but this year it could be tough thanks to COVID. Some businesses have managed to pivot during the pandemic, but not all will survive this test.

As cases spike again, it’s important to keep in mind that small businesses need our help to survive. Luckily, there are ways we can do that and still stay safe during the pandemic. Let’s take a look.

Supporting small businesses during a pandemic

This year has been really rough on small businesses, and as the pandemic rages on, it’s only going to get harder. Most small businesses have had to scale back services, close their doors or limit capacity to keep people healthy and comply with regulations, so it’s put a strain on many of them.

Balancing business with public health is unprecedented territory — and small businesses need all of the support they can get to keep the doors open right now. The Better Business Bureau is offering the following ideas on how to support small businesses right now.

Buy a gift card or two — they make great gifts.

If you’re looking for gifts this holiday season, consider gift cards from local businesses. Many small businesses — restaurants, salons, tattoo shops and other high-contact services — offer gift certificates at discounted rates right now. These gift cards are a great way to help pass along some much-needed cash to businesses while filling stockings and holiday cards with gifts people will actually use.

Shop local online instead of in-person.

Amazon is a great way to grab a few gifts this year, but so are local retailers. You can still shop online at most local shops and vendors, even if the doors are closed right now. Check the sites of your favorite shops to see what they’re offering.  

Look for virtual classes to enroll in.

Want to enroll your kids in guitar or dance classes? Many of these businesses are offering socially distanced classes online, and that’s another way to help support them. Pick up some classes with a local instructor via Zoom or find a creative workshop to take. You’ll be helping to support the people who need it the most — and you may even learn a few new skills in the process.

Related: One thing you should do before going out to eat during the pandemic

Get take-out or delivery.

One of the hardest-hit industries has been restaurants, many of which are locally owned. Breweries and restaurants offer take-out and delivery to feed people while paying the rent and employees. You don’t have to dine in to get dinner from your favorite mom and pop shop. You can grab it to-go instead. Try to stop by your local food trucks, too.

Skip the refund and take a rain check.

Did you buy concert or theater tickets before the pandemic? If you can avoid taking a refund, you should. Take a rain check instead. It’s tough for businesses to issue refunds in normal times, and it could really hurt to issue a ton of refunds during the pandemic when money isn’t rolling in.

Write an online review or share the businesses on social media.

This won’t cost you any money, but it can help a business. If you have a local shop or restaurant you love, do them a favor with a favorable review. It’s an easy and free way to show your support. You can also like and share your local business social media pages with your friends to help drum up interest.

You can also voice your support to local business owners, so they know the community is behind them. It’s tough for all of us to go through this pandemic — and a little support goes a long way, whether it’s a gift card purchase or a virtual pat on the back. Do your part and your community will be better off for it.

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