Shopping local in a post-COVID-19 world is even more vital than before. Small businesses are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and need the support of their community members. Consumers are encouraged to make a conscious effort to support local businesses during the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, May 1-7.
The SBA has used the first week of May to recognize and honor small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups for more than 50 years. According to SBA, small businesses have accounted for two out of every three jobs added in the past 25 years. That makes them vital to our communities.
Supporting small businesses can mean more than just shopping local. There are many ways to keep local favorites in business, even if consumers don’t make a purchase. Interacting with or sharing a social media post from a small-town favorite, leaving a positive review, or nominating a small business for local and national awards are great ways to show your support without spending money.
Use BBB’s tips to shop small this week:
• Research the shops nearest to you. Find local small businesses on BBB.org. Ask friends and family what their favorite local shops are. If you’re traveling, you can make a post on social media asking for local recommendations.
• Get involved. Support the businesses that make your hometown unique. Find out what local events are happening in your area by visiting your local chamber of commerce or merchants’ association. Check out American Express’s advice on how to Shop Small at ShopSmall.org.
• Sign-up for email alerts offered by the merchants in your area. Keep in mind, you’ll probably get additional deals throughout the year. You can also connect with businesses on social media. Many small businesses will advertise their sales via social media.
• Invite your friends and family. Turn the first week of May into a “friends and family” extravaganza! Visit favorite local stores or explore a new one. Take time to get to know the business owners.
• Don’t just shop small, grab takeout from a local restaurant. Many people think that shopping at local retail stores is the only way to participate. However, small independently owned restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops would love to invite in new customers.
• Share your experience. Take a selfie at your favorite small business. Share it on social media with the hashtags #BBB and #ShopSmallto tell the world you’re a big fan of small businesses. Leave a review on BBB.org talking about each experience you had for the next consumer looking for a local business.
For more information about SBA small business week, visitsba.gov/national-small-business-week. And if you spot a scam, whether you have lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.
Rick Walz is the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana, which serves 23 counties. Contact the BBB at 800-552-4631 or visit www.bbb.org.