-from the folks at Salisbury Bank

With the extended closures of many area businesses, financial hardship has effected nearly all of our lives – from loss of income, to cabin fever, or both. Now more than ever it’s important to reach out and support our local businesses. Major retailers have the resources to withstand a shutdown, but hometown operations are another matter. Without our support now, many will never reopen after the emergency is over.

Helping local businesses stay alive keeps your dollars – and jobs – in the local economy. There’s also a cascade effect: local businesses are more likely to support other local banks, farms and service providers. These are our neighbors and friends, and they all contribute to the vibrancy of our community.

10 ways you can help – and reap some benefits for yourself as well!

  1. Continue to ‘shop local‘- Your neighborhood boutique, toy store, florist or bookstore may not have its usual storefront, but could be offering online ordering with curbside pickup or delivery. Reach out to these vendors to see if they’re fulfilling orders. Call, text or go to their website to place your order with a credit card, and then enjoy your purchase!
  2. Dine out in your own home– Many restaurants are offering menus for curbside pickup or delivery. And don’t forget to tip generously; the folks doing food service are manning the front lines, and depending on a smaller income than ever. While you’re at it, hit the local wine store for a celebratory bottle. It will make the meal that much more festive (and don’t we all need festive right now?)
  3. Two words: Gift Cards– Think of how much you’ll need a massage or Zumba class or haircut when this is over! Buy ahead in the form of gift cards to help tide smaller businesses over during the crunch, and you’ll have something to look forward to later on.
  4. Write and post positive reviews– Small businesses live or die by their Yelp ratings. Google and Facebook reviews help too! When they reopen, recent good reviews can make a difference.
  5. Buy direct from farms– Oftentimes, farms count on restaurant sales for their income, and with so many eateries closed, they may have a surplus of produce and/or poultry, meat or fish. Everything will be super-fresh, and you might even benefit from restaurant pricing. Other things to consider are joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which will deliver regular boxes of local farm bounty, or services that sell “ugly” produce (cosmetically flawed but otherwise perfect) at a discount.
  6. Connect with local social media– Most towns have community pages on platforms like Facebook, where you can share information on local resources, increasing their visibility and supporting them in the process. Talk up the business on social. if your friends see you purchasing from a local business, they may be encouraged to follow!
  7. Keep paying service providers– If you have the financial means to do it, continue to pay your cleaning people, hair stylist, child care provider, etc. They need the income now, and we need them to still be there when this is over! your local businesses need your support ten ways you can help out.
  8. Take an online class– Do you belong to a gym, dance studio or yoga center? They may be offering classes via Zoom or other application. For a few dollars you can help them stay in business and yourself stay in shape. (If you can swing it, also keep paying your membership or subscription until they can open again.)
  9. Let them keep the deposit– Suppose you’ve paid for a class or summer camp that has to be cancelled. Consider making a donation of the deposit or fee, to help them weather the closing. If you can’t do that, try putting the money toward a different session in the future.
  10. Donate your expertise– If you have a special skill, such as web design/programming, legal acumen or finance skills, there’s probably a local business that could benefit from a free consultation.

A Few Thoughts about Logistics

We’re all looking to limit our exposure to coronavirus. Online ordering and delivery is one way to go. But if you do decide to visit stores that are still open, ordering ahead can buy you a ‘slot’ and keep you from standing in line or coming in close contact with other customers. If you are immune-compromised or a senior, check out special hours – usually early in the day when shelves are freshly stocked. Also, stash the cash at home. Pay online with a credit card, use a mobile wallet or contactless payment system like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay to eliminate one more point of possible transmission.

Finally, don’t even try to shop if you’re sick. Stay home and take care of yourself; you’ll be doing everyone a favor.

To experience the many ways Salisbury Bank can provide help with resources for business owners and loan customers, visit salisburybank.com for more information.