Small businesses are the backbone of South Shore’s communities, and few have remained unaffected by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
For many, it’s become a matter of life or death, so as customers and clients it behooves us to find ways of helping them keep their doors open.
Whenever possible, it’s important to keep spending, and here are some ways we can help the businesses we love:
• Order takeout, pickup or delivery from a local eatery.
Many restaurants presently closed to indoor dining still offer takeout services and are depending on them to stay in business.
The Vineyards Trattoria and Pizzeria in Apollo Beach, for example, is open for curbside pickup and delivery of its full menu Monday through Saturday for dinner. Little Habana, in Riverview, also is offering curbside pickup of its full menu Wednesday through Saturday and delivery though Mobile Meals. Both are featuring lots of specials.
There are way too many restaurants to list here, so it’s best to simply call your favorites and find out what services they’re able to offer.
If you want to see our eateries stay open, please consider ordering in.
• Buy local. It’s easy to shop on Amazon and click on the first item shown in your search. But there may be an opportunity to buy something from a local source if you take a moment to check. Your item may cost a bit more, but you can take comfort in knowing you’re doing your part to help the owner stay afloat.
• Gift cards are dandy. Buying them gives businesses an immediate boost. Matt Permuth, of Kings Point’s Vesta Services and Helping Hands Seniors, collected donations from Kings Point residents for the purchase of pizza gift cards to feed first responders, volunteers and healthcare workers throughout Sun City Center. Any of us could do something similar, albeit on a smaller scale.
Gift cards also make great gifts for upcoming birthdays and holidays.
• Pay now for later. Remember the Popeye character who would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today? Well, flip that script.
Even though you can’t currently get a service like a haircut or color at the moment, consider sending a check now for the same amount you would typically spend to be applied towards a future service.
Staying loyal is critical for anyone providing personal services, i.e. hair stylists, barbers and massage therapists. Lending a helping hand could get them through a tough spot right now.
• Skip taking a refund. Places like the Firehouse Cultural Center depend on revenue from classes and entertainment to stay open. With current restrictions in place, it has had to cancel both – for the moment.
While you won’t get to go right now, you won’t lose your money, either. It can be applied easily to any future event or class once the restrictions are lifted. Or you can make a tax-deductible donation. It’s a win-win.
• Schedule a service like your annual a/c check-up or tree trimming, while things aren’t too busy.
I’m sure there are more ways to help other struggling businesses. Use your imagination on how you can support flower shops, local gyms, dance studios and more. What’s important is that we remember them and recognize their needs.
Stay safe, everyone.
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Contact her at email@example.com.