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How to Support Local Businesses While Social Distancing

As of 2019, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported 571,495 small businesses in Arizona, making up 99.4% of Arizona businesses. Small or large, local businesses are important to Arizona’s economy.

For now, we are all embracing a “new normal” called social distancing. Many business models historically relied on in-person interactions and services. As Arizona business owners adjust to meet their customers’ needs in a safe way, consumers are also shifting the ways they do business.

Shopping and banking locally puts more of each of our dollars to work, investing into local development and helping our communities thrive.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns created the following 75-second video with some ideas to support local during the pandemic. Local First Arizona published a page dedicated to supporting local during COVID19 (here).

We also created this list for you to keep handy as you support your community:

1. Buy gift cards to favorite local spots

What’s the first place you can’t wait to visit as soon as you can? It might be a restaurant, coffee shop, fitness studio, boutique, theater, salon, hotel, or somewhere else.

Buy a gift card to that place. If they offer digital gift cards that you can purchase online – even better. While you’re at it, buy a gift card for your best friend or loved one. When we are no longer social distancing, you can meet them for dinner, coffee, a fitness class, shopping date, entertainment, or whatever you choose.

Pro tip: If you or your child are writing letters during quarantine (see our blog on ideas for your kids in quarantine), a gift card is a perfect surprise treat to sneak into the envelope.

2. Subscribe to a delivery or pick up service

Some local companies are creating or modifying delivery and subscription options. If you haven’t checked your usual places’ websites or social media pages recently, now is the time. Many companies are constantly updating their online presence to let customers know exactly what’s available and how it all works.

Local First Arizona created a list of businesses and what they’re offering right now. We encourage you to check it out and keep your eyes open for other local businesses that need our support. You might be surprised at what you can get delivered to your home from local businesses – from crafty care packages to fresh produce and beyond.

3. Pick up or drive-thru

If delivery or subscription isn’t on the menu, pick up and drive-thru is. You can place your coffee order online, then just walk in and grab it. You can roll through the drive-thru without touching anything except your food. Many places are offering curbside pickup so you don’t even have to go inside. While restaurants, coffee shops, hospitality, and food services need our support more than ever, so do other industries.

Garden centers and nurseries, bookstores, personal style consulting, business supplies, farmers markets, auto care centers, clothing boutiques, toy stores, art galleries, and specialty popcorn are some of the options in Arizona that are offering ways to provide products and services in a new way. Check out Local First Arizona’s list to get started.

4. Make it a game

Try challenging yourself to only buy local for a specific amount of time – maybe one week or one month. Make a list of all the things you need and before going to your usual global website or store, find out if you can get those things from a local business. Keep a tally of the local companies you supported during the pandemic – and keep it up when this is over!

5. Find a local expert

Are you new to working remotely? There are local businesses that can help set up your security and software. Is your company hiring a public relations firm? There are local PR professionals who are looking for work. Do you want to give your closet a makeover? There are local style and beauty consultants doing online sessions. It might take extra research to find local experts, but it’s worth it to keep your money in your community.

In closing …

To conclude, we are sharing our award-winning “Where Does Your Money Go?” spoken word video from a few years ago. It specifically mentions Tucson, but the idea applies to Tombstone, Casa Grande, Phoenix, and beyond, as well. We hope it inspires you. We keep saying it, and it’s true – we are all in this together.

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This is not an exhaustive list of all ways to support local businesses. Business owners are creating new ways to do business as the pandemic situation evolves daily. Please check on our local businesses’ updates so you can support them in a way that works for you. We do not endorse any specific local business.