Since the coronavirus started to really impact our lives, it’s been amazing how people have shown their support for one another — and particularly local businesses.
When I first heard that Governor Walz was issuing an executive order to shut down bars, restaurants, hair salons, and fitness centers on March 17, 2020, I was wondering how this would impact our small town businesses.
It seems like every day presents new surprises.
Fortunately, many locals have kept these businesses in mind.
I’ve heard quite a few stories which I feel are worth sharing.
In Rushford, there was a customer who purchased $500 in gift certificates (in $25 denominations) from a local restaurant. When the restaurant owner asked the customer who to list as the recipient of the gift certificates, the customer said these are for me. “I am going to give you $500 now, and just use these gift certificates over the next several months.” This customer wanted to make sure this restaurant had money in the bank that day, so they would be in business for the long-haul. And, that’s what we need.
When I attended a recent Preston Area Chamber of Commerce meeting, I heard a story about how one local person said she made it her goal to spend all her stimulus money with local businesses. I’m guessing she’s not the only person who made that commitment.
Another local business owner in the Preston area recently told me that he felt bad that he didn’t eat at the restaurants during the day because he was on the road. So, he dined out of his lunch box on a daily basis. But, he wanted to show his support, so he purchased $400-worth of gift certificates from a local restaurant and mailed them out to his business customers when he was sending out bills.
Keep in mind, these businesses have been restricted (either closed or limited capacity) in their ability to generate revenue, yet they are still paying many of the same bills that come due every month. So, they have less money coming in, but have to pay their mortgage, taxes, utilities, licensing fees, payroll, inventory, and the list goes on.
Our support not only helps them with cashflow. It inspires these business owners to have confidence in their future.
Essentially, we are all investors in our local businesses. If we don’t help them stay in business with our support, our communities will lose ground. I don’t think we can afford to lose these community assets.
That’s why we’ll need to keep in mind that we are still navigating some choppy waters with the pandemic still lingering over our heads, which means these local businesses will need our continuous support.