Carrie Samis: Now more than ever, it’s time to shop local

Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s time to shop small and shop local.

Local, family-owned businesses are struggling to adapt to changes nearly hour-by-hour. This rapid flux demands that we all shift quickly. Small businesses operate on thin margins.

Carrie Samis.

Their daily operations don’t allow a lot of wiggle room nor do most small businesses operate with significant reserves. The uncertainty of what may happen next is unnerving.

Like all of us, small business owners care deeply about their families and their communities. They also care about their employees and their customers and are working diligently to protect both, as best as they can. 

Main Street leaders across the state are working with businesses in their districts to identify resources and ways to adapt. The city of Salisbury and the town of Princess Anne are no exception. Laura Soper, Salisbury Director of Business Development, said “right now, our businesses are adapting to this ever-changing situation.”

“Our restaurants have shifted their operations to offer curbside pick-up or take out, some have even opted to offer home delivery services personally or through GrubHub or UberEats,” she said. “Local fitness studios have started streaming their classes live on Facebook so that members (and non-members) can stay active at home. I think as the situation continues, we will see our businesses come together even more to help each other and the community. This is the time to support our locally owned small businesses, as they’ll need us more than ever to make it through the coming weeks and months.”

At the national level, Patrice Frey, President and CEO of the National Main Street Center, emphasizes that “community is at the heart of everything we do.”

“In light of broad economic uncertainty, supply chain interruptions, and guidance from public health officials to stay home as much as possible, the impact on small businesses and local economies is already significant and looks likely to become even more extensive,” she said.

“Amidst this uncertainty, however, one thing is clear: Main Street organizations have an essential role to play in supporting businesses during this difficult period.”

In Princess Anne, the majority of our businesses are still open, but they are feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19. During these tough times, our business community suffers tremendously — and so do the families they support. Support small businesses — your neighbors — as much as you can, for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. Every dollar spent at a local business helps.

There are several ways you can help sustain local businesses through these unprecedented changes in daily life. Order carryout, curbside pickup, or delivery from local restaurants. Purchase gift cards and certificates. You can help a business out now and save the card for later use. The cash flow will be especially helpful to small businesses during these tight times. Some retailers offer online retail or telephone sales and shipping/delivery, making it easy to support small business while following social distancing guidelines.

Please share, comment, and like social pages and posts from your downtown community. This helps businesses with the best form of marketing — word of mouth. Focus on safety, family and supporting your community in any way you can.

Carrie Samis is Main Street Princess Anne Manager.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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