Times are tough for local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, but we recognize times are hard for many mid-Willamette Valley residents as well in the wake of “jaw-dropping” job losses reported by the Oregon Employment Department on Thursday.
So here’s a small idea that will help independent shops, stores and restaurants in the short term and Linn and Benton County workers over the long haul.
Adopt a local business. Just one.
You can pick more if you’re financially stable during these uncertain times. If your bank account is flush, by all means, choose dozens.
But most adults around here can support at least one independent business, even if they are struggling a bit.
That small shop or restaurant you love? It needs you to show it love right now. Make regular investments so it can survive the coming weeks and perhaps months of turmoil.
Here are some suggestions from the Corvallis Economic Development Office.
*Shop online or via phone.
*If you don’t need to buy anything specific but still want to support a business or restaurant, buy gift cards to spend later.
*For restaurants, order takeout or delivery and tip the same amount as you would dining in.
*Share, like and leave reviews for your favorite local businesses on their Facebook, Yelp or Google profiles.
We’ve found that many stores and shops are officially closed – either by state order or of their own accord – but if you call or contact them on social media, they’ll be responsive about filling a special order for you and having it ready for pickup or delivery. That can also apply with gift cards at certain restaurants that chose to shut their doors temporarily.
Choosing just one business to support could be a rather impossible task for some residents. So many places may have brought you a bit of joy over the years. But also think about which businesses have supported the community.
Who sponsored your child’s baseball or softball team? Who made large charity donations or stepped up in other ways to help residents? Who made the community better in other ways besides simply operating a business?
The survival of businesses, of course, represents far more than just the business itself.
Our small shops, stores and restaurants combine to create a massive impact on the local economy, and they employ thousands of workers.
When the pandemic fades, those businesses need to still be in existence so they can rebound and hire back their laid off employees.
Businesses where the owner is the sole worker need your support, too, because they still create real and significant ripples through the mid-valley.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that chain stores and restaurants also are facing tumultuous times and employ many residents here in the mid-Willamette Valley. They’re also better positioned to survive what we’re hoping is a V recession, a flash knockout to the economy if you will.
The margin for success for independent businesses in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Sweet Home, Philomath and other communities is much tighter, so that’s why we’re urging action on their behalf.
On reusable bags
A few months ago, we wrote that Oregon’s plastic bag ban was annoying but necessary to cut down on waste that doesn’t break down and pollutes our environment. Plus, remembering reusable bags wasn’t that much of a hassle and not much of an additional cost.
We still believe that, but we’re taking a short break from bringing our reusable bags to stores. We’d ask you to do the same.
This is a different era, and we don’t want ourselves or other residents to unwittingly spread the coronavirus on our emergency trips to the grocery store or other businesses via our reusable bags. We want to keep everyone safe.
We don’t think that this rises to the level of government action, however. Not everything requires an order from the governor, who probably has plenty of items on her plate, and we don’t think the ban on one-time plastic bags needs to be temporarily rescinded.
Many stores are encouraging people not to use their reusable bags. Fred Meyer, for example, had shoppers bag their own groceries if they brought reusable bags to the chain last week.
Shoppers themselves can change their habits for a few weeks, as well, even if it adds a small additional expense to their grocery bills.
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