The past year has been a difficult one for many people. Small businesses in particular have suffered, with many of them having been forced to modify their operations or close down altogether in order to comply with the restrictions set out by the government of Ontario. While it is convenient to shop at big box stores or use services like Amazon to buy what we want, supporting these large companies does not really help our neighbours, family, friends, or to support the local economy.
People everywhere rallied together in 2020 to lift up our small business owners by shopping local in an effort to keep our favourite stores alive throughout the pandemic. The holidays especially provided local shops and vendors with business that they had been missing in earlier months. Not only have these shop owners provided our community with years of support, building meaningful relationships with loyal patrons, they also support local charities, employ many people, source locally, and provide one of a kind goods and exceptional service to those that they serve.
Now as we enter our second lockdown of the pandemic, it is important to remember that these businesses that have been there for us, are still in need of our support. Owners and their staff have worked long hours and pivoted their businesses so remain a consistent staple in their respective communities. Their hard work should not go unnoticed. Here are some ways that you can help your favourite small local Ottawa businesses in 2021.
While delivery apps like Skip The Dishes and Uber Eats are convenient, these companies take a cut from the businesses themselves. Instead of ordering online, place your order for pick up and allow your favourite restaurants to profit off of your business, instead of third party delivery services that charge both you and the restaurant you order from.
Many businesses might not be able to operate right now, but are still selling gift cards for future use. If you have any birthdays or anniversaries coming up, or want to treat yourself to a future gift, go ahead and buy a gift card to keep on hand. Not only will this help the local business through these difficult times, it will also give you something to look forward to when things return to normal once again.
Many services such as dance studios, martial arts, art classes, and music classes have had to pivot their services to an online platform. While this may not be the experience you imagined, the hard work and dedication it has taken for an entire staff to become fluent in the technology and adapt their lessons and teaching style is outstanding. Get past your initial hesitation and see how you can pass the time by learning skills at home.
You may not be able to spend outside of your means right now, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t support your favourite businesses! Many business owners use repeat and referrals to build their business. Leave a review on google, like and share their social media, or contribute to online threads to promote some of the great local businesses in your community.
There are so many ways to help local businesses in your community. It is important to remember that they need your support throughout these unprecedented times so that they can remain a part of our city for the long haul, and celebrate with us once we overcome this hurdle.
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