Last week I carried on with my normal errands and tasks around town; went to the library with the kids, walked around some local stores and boutiques, had park dates, went grocery shopping, had some coffee dates around town; because COVID-19 didn’t hit home for my family and me quite yet. Yes, I was aware and very saddened for the thousands of people being impacted around the world. And yes, I was buying extra medicine, bleach, ramen noodles, and toilet paper than normal; but I wasn’t too concerned…yet.
And then our Governor, Mike Dewine spoke yesterday afternoon, informing us parents that our children’s schools, K-12, were to be closed for 3 weeks starting Monday, March 16th, in hopes of slowing down the spread of this virus. All of a sudden, things became very real for me and my family at that moment. And it became very real for everyone in my community apparently, because you could hardly move past people in the aisles of Kroger, just an hour after this announcement was made.
Fear and panic are starting to creep into our communities, and it has people questioning, and local businesses questioning, what our “new norm” is going to look like for a while. My husband and I own, “General’s Ice Cream” in Whitehouse, and we have already had to put in place safety and health precautions for our employees and our customers. We have had to brainstorm ideas on how to keep our customers feeling safe and comfortable with still coming to our store while this pandemic is taking place. We have had to consider all of the “unknowns” of what this means for our business during this time. And just as our family business is wondering how this will all play out, so are the countless other small businesses within Northwest Ohio.
Unfortunately, this pandemic WILL hurt our favorite local businesses, that make our communities feel like home to us. Local coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, churches, events, etc.; will all feel the weight of this virus on their shoulders, due to the possible decrease in sales and so forth. And as much as I understand the hesitation in spending money on other things rather than toilet paper and necessities for our families, I also do believe it is a necessity that we all still support and shop local during this time.
Your favorite coffee shop that is just down the road from you will really appreciate you still buying a cup of coffee from them; even if it’s just once or twice a week. The amazing restaurant your family loves to go to would love for you to still have dinner there occasionally, or place a carryout order. The cute boutique that you love to splurge at, would love for you to still come in and shop for maybe not a whole new outfit, but maybe for a pair of jeans or some adorable new earrings, or even shop online. Whatever you can do to still support local, DO IT. Because not only will our favorite Northwest Ohio businesses appreciate it, but our entire community as a whole will benefit from it as well.
Ways to Support Local:
We WILL eventually stop having to load up on hand sanitizer. We WILL eventually send our kids back to school. This pandemic WILL END eventually, mamas. And when it does, we WILL still have our favorite local businesses around to celebrate, shop, and support, if we stick by their sides during this difficult time, and keep their heads and dreams above water. Let this not be a time of fear and panic, but a time of still supporting each other and helping each other…even if we do that from 6 feet apart.