Support local businesses


FAO Schwarz stands in its new location in Manhattan. Many local businesses, such as toy stores, have moved locations this year. (Tribune News Service)

Charlotte Harmon, Print staff

 Among the many changes COVID-19 has brought, small businesses have been one group affected the most. Unlike these businesses, large online corporations such as Amazon and Netflix, have benefited from these changes. Because of this, many small businesses that have had to close temporarily are now out of business.  

   According to a study of 5,800 small businesses done by PNAS, many businesses had to relocate, 43% had temporarily closed due to lack of employee health concerns, and employment was down by 47%. In addition, many businesses only had enough cash to last them two weeks.  Overall, nearly a quarter of U.S. small businesses are still closed as of October. The PNAS estimates that 33 million will lose their jobs because of the pandemic. The CARES loan program, which was put in place in March, provides small businesses with needed resources such as maintaining their payroll and hiring employees who were laid off.

   In order for some of these small businesses to survive, they needed to establish an online ordering system. For example, Semicolon is a bookstore in Chicago that opened about a year ago and now allows online ordering. In addition, is an independent bookselling website that donates 10 percent of its profits to local bookstores. 

   Now, why is supporting small businesses important? Supporting them encourages entrepreneurship and the dollars help support the local community. It also helps support sustainable shopping instead of fast fashion, which is cheaper and trendy fashion companies that cost the environment. These businesses consist of 50% of American workers.

   How else can someone support small businesses? Some examples are in the following: tagging the business name on social media, buying their gift cards, and trying to tip. Instead of buying food from large corporations, buy from local grocery stores and purchase take out from family restaurants. Although companies such as Amazon might seem more convenient, this will only further the damage covid has caused on these small businesses. Plus, many grocery stores and restaurants have issued take-out services for conveniences.

   Many of the private health care sectors such as dentistry, where people might be reluctant to go there, are also affected by this.  Many other businesses that require physical activity and where social distancing is difficult are also experiencing closures. Minority or women-owned businesses are also suffering because they tend to receive less support from lenders. All in all, it seems the U.S. government needs to do more to support local businesses that supposedly fuel the American dream.