How To Support Small Business During Covid-19

Financial stability during a global pandemic is truly a blessing. Seriously. Even before “social distancing” became a household term, just the word “finance” radiates a slight tinge of anxiety to the millennial soul. As thousands upon thousands are filing for unemployment and the future is quite grey, this is a sensitive topic for some. COVID-19 has inevitably turned us inward, for better or for worse, and each day is a new dance with the unknown.

One major silver lining of that: the money you are spending now has a tremendous impact on our future! I cannot speak on behalf of anyone else’s experiences, and if you have a mortgage to pay and children to feed, do not feel guilty for tightened expenses. If you are fortunate to have a steady flow of income right now, consider taking the time to make intentional, researched purchases. When you are making decisions as a conscious consumer, you are investing in the philosophy of brands that have a direct effect on those who run them. And now more than ever, these choices are critical to the longevity of small businesses.

1. Get that delicious NYC Cawfee you know and love.

Like many New Yorkers (and people in general), a trip to your neighborhood coffee shop was simply part of your daily ritual. Your new morning routine can still consist of that cup of joe: if your favorite cafe isn’t open, check out their website. They’re most likely still selling their coffee or espresso beans! You’ll be helping out their storefront and enjoying that same caffeine kick safely from the comforts of home. Aaaand, if your favorite coffee spot happens to be open (we see you, MUD) get that mask on, get outside, grab that to-go coffee, and feel a slight sense of normalcy again. Your baristas and small coffee roasters will thank you. 

2. Buy music like it’s 1975, baby!

A forever muse by the name of Penny Lane once graced us with the greatest advice of all time: “...if you ever get lonely you can just go to the record store and visit your friends.” This one hits hard right now. Many of us music-lovers consider the act of record shopping therapeutic. In the last few years, the vinyl revival has seen quite the trajectory, but record shops could use your loyalty now more than ever. If you’ve got a turntable, research some independently owned record stores in your borough. A lot of shops are offering online orders (Downtown Music Gallery, Academy Records, etc). When you listen to vinyl, you’re listening to songs in the order the artists intended! And you’ll have those friends forever. 

*Sidenote: artists are small businesses too - minus the household names. Their livelihood depends on touring and music sales, both of which have plummeted during COVID-19. Check out your favorite singer/ band’s website to buy merch, or their social media handles to see ways you can support them during these times.

3. Make grocery shopping enjoyable again!

Instead of waiting in that treacherous line around the block at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, head to your nearest Farmer’s Market. GrowNYC has been outstanding in their regulation of COVID-19  protocol. You might not get the luxury of trying the farm fresh samples each stand offers, but you will get the satisfaction of knowing you are directly supporting small, family owned farms and operations that are taking the hardest economic hits right now. There are an abundance of seasonal veggies freshly harvested and homemade provisions waiting for you!

4. Rock some skeletons from other people’s closets.

If you’ve tackled the highly procrastinated act of cleaning out your closet, congratulations. Still want to make a purchase because you’re human and it’s okay to dress-up at age 26? Consider buying secondhand. There are tons of resellers online who’ve got clothes waiting to be rocked! Whether Poshmark, Etsy, or Depop are your jams, you’re recycling clothes, and this haults the negative impact fast fashion production has on the environment. 1/3 of plastic pollution in the ocean is due to microfibers from synthetic clothing. Bummmer. Resellers and thrift shops are not able to add to their inventory during the pandemic either. I recently launched my online thrift store and it’s been an awesome way to stay connected with people. Why not make one man’s used and still epic clothing your newest treasure?

5. Have a designated treat yo’ self take out night. 

You’ve probably mastered the art of baking sourdough bread by now. And for that, kudos. On the contrary, you may exist on the opposite end of that spectrum and are fully reciting the menus of your favorite restaurants in your sleep. And for that, have no shame. But consider this: when you try a new place, you may just discover a dish you might’ve never come across. Nom! Another positive outcome to treating yo’ self to a new and special take out meal on a designated night (besides supporting a small business that *literally* depends on your appetite), you’ll be excited for weekends again. Or Tuesdays, whatever works.

As a woman-owned and small business, Find Your Essential can relate to the unforeseeable future. If there’s anything that’s for certain, it’s this: we’re certainly all in this together. I hope you find comfort in these trying times, and take the time to feel all the ebbs and flows of this new “normal.” Smoke that CBD pre- roll, find comfort in the discomfort, and adjust your sails one day at a time. And most importantly, remember: your decisions, though seemingly small, have an impact on tomorrow’s world.

Written by, Madison Murphy

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