7 Ways to Support Small Businesses in Washington, D.C.
This past year has dealt some genuine challenges to all sorts of small businesses across the country, forcing many to close or have severe restrictions placed on how they can operate. But small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and are so vital to our communities. With the new year in full swing, there are many ways to show extra support for the small businesses in Washington, D.C., and across the country. These seven tips offer easy ways to help these vibrant businesses through this challenging time, and keep them in business for years to come.
1. Buy Gift Cards
One of the easiest ways to support your beloved small businesses is to buy gift cards. Your purchase gives local businesses much-needed revenue at a time when business is tight, plus it allows you to use your card later, whenever you're ready for a treat. Many businesses are offering e-gift cards which can be purchased online in seconds. Simply use a credit card to purchase online and the gift card is delivered instantly via email or text message to minimize contact. This allows you to support local businesses from the comfort of your own home.
Consider giving gift cards to friends and family to share the love even more. One of our favorite tips is to buy gift cards in smaller amounts, like $10. Your loved one is likely to spend more than that, adding even more support to local businesses!
2. Order Takeout
Some of us may not feel safe dining out right now, but you can keep your favorite restaurants busy by ordering takeout. With takeout food, there is no need to worry about contamination, and you can enjoy your favorite restaurant foods in the comfort of your home. Many restaurants have expanded their options for pickup and delivery, so you can choose what's most convenient for you. Some restaurants even have extra options available, like alcoholic beverages to go with dinner or specialty grocery items. Consider adding some of these items to your regular order to support local restaurants.
3. Consider Creative DIY Options
Many small businesses are getting creative with their offerings lately, and they are worth checking out. These clever ideas include DIY salon and spa kits with virtual consultations, and take-and-bake meal kits and DIY cocktail kits from your favorite restaurants, with everything to make some of their most popular cocktails at home. Shop local businesses in D.C. to see all the ingenious options available near you.
4. Shop Independent Small Businesses
Online shopping and big-box stores may be convenient, but they are not struggling in this pandemic. Many smaller local businesses are offering some of the same services as nationwide chains, such as curbside pickup, delivery and personal shoppers. Small business owners are more likely to bend over backward to cater to you and keep your business, so if you need something extra like curbside pickup, ask, and they may be able to accommodate your request.
Support small businesses this year by making your purchases at local businesses and other independent sellers. Go beyond the favorites you frequent and try a new shop or restaurant to give them some support, too. Shop small this year and look for independently owned restaurants, indie bookstores, grocery co-ops, small boutique gift shops and CSA grocery subscriptions to support local farms.
5. Don't Forget the Tip
Tips are always considerate, and in today's world, they are crucial. Restaurant and retail workers are putting themselves on the line, providing vital services in this stressful time. Reward their hard work and show your support with a generous tip. Consider giving a little bit more than you'd usually tip to help out these essential workers. You could also consider tipping even if you pick up your order yourself, or giving extra for additional services such as a curbside pickup, grocery drop-off or virtual consultations.
6. Be Vocal on Social Media and Review Sites
If you had an excellent experience with a local business, share it with friends! Post a photo of your delicious takeout meal or cute items you picked up from your favorite boutique. Or give a simple shout-out to a business going above and beyond during this time. If you've never written a review for the places you like to shop and eat, now is the time to add your support on websites like Yelp. All these actions serve as free advertising for your favorite small businesses, and will encourage your contacts to shop small too.
7. Reach Out
One simple way you can support local businesses during COVID-19 is to reach out and ask what they need. If you have a valuable area of expertise — such as legal, accounting or marketing — consider offering pro bono or discounted services or consultations with local businesses to help them out. Or, maybe you can help connect your favorite businesses with supplies or services that would help them adapt and keep going. Perhaps a local business needs help installing Plexiglas dividers at checkout stations, or building a new takeout window for better efficiency. Find other creative ways to show your appreciation, like dropping off coffee and cookies at your favorite store on a busy shopping day.
Why Is Supporting Local Business Crucial?
Small businesses are essential to our local economies and our communities' social and cultural fabric. These businesses represent a lifelong dream for entrepreneurs and innovators who understand locals' needs and wants, and who spend their money locally, too. When you support local businesses, you keep the money flowing within your community and help enhance the local economy.
These small businesses must compete with nationwide corporations and chain stores. The pandemic has forced them to adhere to many safety restrictions that make running a business more challenging. Restaurants have been especially hard-hit lately, and giving them your support means you help keep service workers' jobs in the community where you live.
Support Station 4
Support Station 4 and other small businesses in Washington, D.C., by stopping in soon. You can order takeout or delivery to enjoy your favorite New American Bistro classics in the comfort of your home, or make a reservation to dine with us in person. We've implemented physical distancing protocols and strict safety and sanitation measures to protect our guests and staff. Our gift cards make a great option, too! Share the love online and leave us a positive review or shout-out on social media. At Station 4, we love our loyal customers and can't wait to serve you soon.