We’re well into a holiday season unlike any other, one which comes after nine months of social restrictions due to the pandemic, with no immediate relief in sight.
Many local retail and restaurant businesses have adapted to the current conditions by instituting limited hours and minimizing staff.
Keeping money in the local economy has never been more important than it is right now. Some studies place local retailers as returning 52% of their revenue back to the local economy, compared to just 14% percent for national chains.
“The pandemic has had different impacts for different industries (we represent),” says Kelly Wilson with Taste the Local Difference. “For our farm partners, this has been one of their best years, but for restaurants and retail it’s been a completely different story.”
Wilson says navigating COVID-19 restrictions has added a host of expenses for most of the Michigan-based businesses her organization represents.
Listen: Local business owners share how you can help small businesses
“When it comes to the struggles (of owning a business) during COVID-19 restrictions, hearing how so many people weren’t following the rules (like masks and social distancing), it made me not want to reopen the showroom to the public,” says Jen David, owner of Third Wave Music in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.
David says she stuck to delivery and curbside pickup until Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday. “But when we reopened to the public it kind of blew my mind. I was so proud and happy to see everyone masked up,” David says.
That’s one of the pivots that small businesses in Michigan have been able to do, Wilson says. She says another special element that shopping local provides right now is human interaction. “A lot of our restaurants have shared how important it is just to see folks coming in and picking up takeout. It keeps (the restaurant owners) going to see their customers and know that their food is giving someone nourishment or a treat that day.”
Three ways to help small businesses during this year’s holiday season:
- Shop at locally owned businesses in your neighborhood
- Follow local businesses on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and share their content
- Not sure what item or to choose? Try purchasing a gift card or swag like a t-shirt instead
Here are a few small businesses WDET listeners recommend:
- The Produce Station — “Groceries, plants, wine and great cheese, all under one roof!”
- Bon Bon Bon
- City Bird
Have any additional suggestions? Send them our way »