Disclaimer #1: Always use your best judgement and CDC guidelines for how to safely engage with your community. Be smart, stay safe, stay healthy!
How to help businesses during quarantine....that's the question, isn't it?
I don't really have words to describe the vastly varied feelings I've been having about the quarantine. My heart hurts from pain seeing the businesses I love struggle. My heart bursts from joy seeing the communities I love pull together. It's intense sorrow and intense happiness. Bitter. And sweet. A new era is on the horizon; things are absolutely going to be different after this. And everything we are doing right now is helping to write the new future.
That's a lot. But I've found a seed of hope in that. Our actions now are helping determine the changes that are on the way. So, how do we work together to support and bring the businesses we love through these times?
Things you can do right now to help a business without spending anything but your time:
1. Share their posts and products to your followers
2. Write a review on Facebook, Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, their website etcetc if you've used their products or services
3. Subscribe to their newsletter/blog/podcast
4. Follow all their social accounts
5. Email/text/call them to check-in, mental health is so key during times as isolating as these
6. Recommend them to someone you think will specifically like them
7. Attend their virtual events
How to help businesses during quarantine if you have finances:
1. Buy. Their. Goods. Not gift cards, their goods. Or services. Gift cards can offer cash now, but only put off the losses to an undisclosed future date. I understand why people are doing this, but it is essentially burdening the unclear future for some small relief now. I believe firmly that if you can buy the goods vs the gift cards, you should buy the goods if the business is able to offer them </rant>
2. Donate cash. Some businesses have started virtual tip jars, micro lending campaigns, and crowdfunding campaigns to help soften their losses. Ask the owners to see if the businesses you love have started any of these initiatives.
3. Support them on Patreon, become a sponsor, get a membership if they offer it.
4. Attend their virtual events! This one could be paid or free, but staying engaged with what your fave businesses are offering can help keep them afloat.
Some businesses I've been loving lately:
Driftless Books And Music in Viroqua, WI Is the coolest book store in the country. Fight me. I'm right. They are offering themed book boxes for your quarantine reading pleasure. So many topics available, since there are approx 5 million (no joke) books in the warehouse, there's a quarantine box waiting for you.
Cardboard Robot from Decorah, IA Has all the quirky, crafty, artsy, science-y, goodness you (or your kids, or...you) could possibly desire. Their website store is being stocked with more goodies as they have time, but the owners are very accommodating via Instagram direct message and will send you 10 different pictures of all their watercolor pads and prices while you pick the perfect one. They have also been posting shop tour videos on their Instagram showing off their products.
Smith & Co Candles from Eau Claire, WI Is keeping my home office smelling super fly. I've burned through almost an entire one of their big boiz already! You can also get monthly/bi-monthly candle subscriptions, which is a neat way to treat yo'self.
Unwound Yarn Shop in La Crosse, WI Has all the yarny goodness you can possibly need. If you are interested in learning to knit or crochet, they have kits, tools, and resources to get you crafting in no time!
Gamers Sanctum in Sparta, WI is my go-to for board games. They are not shipping currently, but you can contact them for curbside pickup if you are local. They also are doing some virtual Friday Night Magic Nights, which is super nifty.
Noble Knight in Madison, WI has games, models, Dungeons and Dragons, dice, and really all the gear you could possibly want for getting you NERD ON!!
Support Small in Viroqua, WI I know I said that the go-to should be supporting a business by buying their goods and services if you are able instead of getting gift cards, but there's no rule saying you can just NOT spend the gift cards. ;) SupportSmall.net is put together by the Viroqua Chamber Main Street and is a great list of area businesses in need of support, some of which that are unable to offer goods or services for sale at all during this time.