This year, more than ever, it is vital that we patronize our local businesses. Yes, it is scary out there for many; cases of COVID-19 are increasing, people are leery of going into stores, but we must support our local business owners.
Do not simply stay home and do all your shopping on-line. This does not help our store owners. Use the internet to research what gifts you want to get for Uncle Buck this year, and then call a local store that carries the item. When asked, any local store you call in town will do whatever they can to accommodate you. Why? Because your business is that important to them.
These local businesses are owned by our neighbors and friends. For years, we have asked them to support so many non-profit events or sports’ team fundraising efforts and they have always responded positively. Now they need our help in the face of a pandemic that has seen their businesses suffer because of it.
Yes, you can easily buy a book online, but is it really too much trouble to call Diane’s Books, order it, then swing by Grigg Street to pick it up?
In a normal year (do you remember when that was?), for every $100 you spend in a local small business, $68 remains in the community in the form of taxes and ancillary spending. This is a good thing because it then enriches the entire business community, giving people jobs and is even good for the environment.
When you buy local you tend to develop a relationship with those establishments you frequent which leads to better customer service and experience. We have all been frustrated by calling an 800 number to return a poorly purchased item, then been transferred four different times only to give up and re-gift the item for someone’s birthday.
Buying local and supporting small businesses is at the core of our local economy and is such an important part of what makes Greenwich, well, Greenwich. If we did not have stores such as Sophia’s, McArdle’s, Diane’s Books, and many others, the feel of our community would be very different indeed.
It is not just the merchants – we need to support our local restaurants as well. Did you know when you order food to be delivered through Uber Eats, Grub Hub and other online platforms they charge the restaurant a deliver fee? These can be as much as 65 percent of the total bill, meaning the restaurant is actually losing money on your order and that helps no one.
When you want to order from a restaurant, go to their website to place your order. Make sure you are not using a third-party platform. We want to ensure restaurants are not paying unreasonable fees. Many now have their own delivery people. Or, they will be happy to do curb-side pick-up. With the colder weather here and outdoor dining more challenging, it is important we support our restaurants as well.
To overstate the obvious, this holiday season is different. For many of us, we are fine hunkering down, mostly, for the holidays. However, for those merchants who depend on the holiday season to make their profit, this is starting off to be a very scary few weeks. Anecdotal information says the first weekend of the holiday shopping season was the slowest in memory. We need to change that.
We hope you will join us in supporting as many local businesses as possible. Already purchased all your gifts online? We will not judge, but you can still help. You can purchase gift cards from every store and restaurant that can be used after the holidays. It is small thing we can do, and Uncle Buck will totally appreciate it.
Key words for 2020 are not pandemic and COVID-19 – they are: please buy local.