‘Tis the Season to Shop Small

3 minute read

Three Ways to Support Local Businesses During the Holidays and Beyond

Making it as a small business owner is no easy task. It requires thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears—from the investment of personal income to long days and sleepless nights of hard work and sacrifice.

Now, imagine the difficulty of opening or running a small business during a pandemic that has completely altered the way people shop, eat, interact, and, well, live.

It’s a recipe for heartache for any entrepreneur.

With the holidays approaching, we must recognize the resiliency of our small business community. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, these entrepreneurs have endured nine months of uncertainty, shifting consumer patterns and mounting bills.

With vaccines on the horizon, a light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to emerge. But we’re not there yet.

In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s commit to supporting the small businesses in our community to help them make it through the end of this crisis.

1. Commit to doing all of your holiday shopping locally.

Photo Cred: Cycle Your City, 225 E 5th St.

Our community is fortunate to have a variety of small businesses that can fulfill any wishlist. Consider the Buy Black Holiday Market for easy, one-stop shopping. Open Fridays and Saturdays through December 19, the market offers products and services from local entrepreneurs and agripreneurs and features Black-owned brands, artwork, jewelry and much more.

2. Support locally-owned restaurants by purchasing gift cards.

Photo cred: Cugino Forno, 486 Patterson Ave.

When restrictions lift, the desire to gather with friends and family over delicious food and drink will skyrocket. By buying gift cards now, for yourself or your friends and family, you’ll be supporting a local business in the short-term while giving yourself something to look forward to once we’re able to socialize safely again.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines just announced the “Make it to May” campaign, encouraging people to support local restaurants:

“It is a critical time for our small businesses here in the Triad and across the state, particularly in the next five months for our restaurants as they go through the cold winter months.”

3. Be social

Photo cred: Lotus Yoga Academy, 525 Vine St.

One of the best (and easiest) things you can do to support local small businesses is to give them a shout-out on social media. People rely on many different platforms to discover where and what to eat, read reviews and browse at menus. If you shop somewhere, take the time to find their social media accounts and give them a positive review. Share your purchases across your social media accounts too. And don’t forget, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools.

For more information about specific ways to support small businesses in our area, including a local directory, check out this page from Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.

Also, for a list of Innovation Quarter retail tenants and how you can support them, visit our COVID Community Resources page

Lindsey Schwab is the director of community relations for the Innovation Quarter.