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-   -   Minor coronavirus quandary: the local small business (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=892260)

Leaper 03-21-2020 03:54 PM

Minor coronavirus quandary: the local small business
 
Thereís this local small business Iíve been patronizing for years that I really want to support through times like this. Itís still open, apparently, and itís not a restaurant, so non-essential (so there are a couple of states eliminated right there). There was something specific there I was thinking about buying, but itís apparently out of stock.

Now, Iíve been doing a quasi-ďshelter in placeĒ kind of thing, even though my area doesnít (yet) require it; going to the grocery store yesterday was the furthest Iíve been from home in a week. I know this is the right thing to do. But is there anything reasonable I can do for the store in this situation? Iím sure I could find something I want there, but Iíd have to browse a bit, which is obviously not ideal. I suppose I could browse online and quiz the employee in the phone Ďtil I find something there, but Iíd still have to pick it up. I also have a website of small business financial resources in my area linked by my credit union. I have no idea if the owner knows or has tapped this already, but it feels weird to talk about to just a clerk.

Ideas? I really appreciate this place for being a convenient place for me all these years; Iíd heard they were planning to move to a larger space too, so Iím really motivated to do something.

leahcim 03-21-2020 04:55 PM

If the place offers gift cards, you could buy some now and use them when the crisis is over. That would give them some immediate cash flow if you can tolerate the risk that they'll go out of business anyway and you'll be out the value of the cards.

Mama Zappa 03-25-2020 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leahcim (Post 22202571)
If the place offers gift cards, you could buy some now and use them when the crisis is over. That would give them some immediate cash flow if you can tolerate the risk that they'll go out of business anyway and you'll be out the value of the cards.

+1

We got takeout from our local Chinese restaurant (been around for decades and it would be heartbreaking if they folded) last week and I bought a large gift card at the same time.

If you have spare cash and they sell something you could perhaps use some day (or pass on or resell) that's another option.

Don't forget individual tradespeople. We've told our housecleaner not to come the next few sessions but we are paying her anyway. If it's something where tipping is appropriate, be extra-generous if you can.

flatlined 03-25-2020 02:43 PM

Thank you for starting this thread. I would have never thought of buying gift cards for later use, and I was a little concerned about a few small businesses around here.

Dewey Finn 03-25-2020 02:53 PM

Here is a story from the public radio program Planet Money about how normally, economists think gift cards are a terrible idea, but that right now they might be a good way of supporting local businesses.

velomont 03-28-2020 10:32 AM

This is something on my mind a fair bit. I'm very fortunately employed, to the extent that this is having only superficial impacts on my life, and that is likely to continue but there are three small businesses that I love (they fall into my "third place" category, discussed in Quimby's "What is your "Third Place"?", https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=886418).

All three are small businesses and, notwithstanding the effectiveness of our gov't's (Canada) emergency economic policy, I can't see any guarantees that they will necessarily survive. Or, if they do survive, that they'll have the same staff who I, albeit superficially, "know" and enjoy talking with. It's personally sad to fortunate me and I can't even imagine what it's like for them and their staff.

All three are non-chain/franchise places and, up to this point, were extremely popular (and I assume successful). But what happens to the poor staff members? And multiply this by however many other such places on the planet.

One of them is an Italian owned diner in a nearby industrial park and I had a pizza delivered for lunch yesterday and gave them a healthy tip. The other is an Italian coffee place in a local, food-centric mall and I last saw them a couple of weeks ago. And the other place is a bike-rental and maintenance place with a brilliant, licensed coffee place.

I feel so sorry for all these folks.

Ann Hedonia 03-28-2020 07:31 PM

I’m trying to order take-out more frequently, and I’ve changed up my habits a little bit.

There are two nearby places that I really don’t want to lose. Both are located in the small shopping plaza in my sub development ( which has about 500 homes, a mix of rental apartments, townhomes and single family houses ).

One is a Greek diner that has a drive-through pickup window, which has always been their main attraction. The other is a bar /restaurant that is local a hangout spot, especially among the younger people in the neighborhood. They play sports on the TV’s at the bar and have a large outdoor patio. The shopping plaza also has a mediocre Chinese restaurant, and while I hate to see any business suffer, I can live without them.

I’ve started getting takeout from the hangout bar a couple of times a week and forgoing the diner. Because I’m pretty sure the diner is busier than ever - they always did mostly takeout and they’ve got signage on the main road with their phone number advertising the pick up window.

But the hangout bar is really hurting. So I’m trying to do what I can. And they have $5 pizzas on Monday, so I always grab a couple and refrigerate slices for lunch throughout the week.

One thing I like about where I live is that once you get outside the mall parking lot, the independent restaurants vastly outnumber the chain restaurants. We go to independent restaurants pretty much exclusively. I’m concerned that this recession will put the independents out of business and the chains will move in to fill the vacuum.

Tatterdemalion 03-28-2020 11:11 PM

Is Uber Eats (Or Grubhub/Doordash) a good way to keep our local restaurants running? There is a local Banh Mi place that I really like, but I suspect that even before recent dislocations they were hanging by a thread. I see that they will deliver through Uber Eats, although the fees effectively double the price of a sandwich. That would be ok, I guess, I really have a yen for their grilled pork Banh Mi.

Happy Lendervedder 03-28-2020 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatterdemalion (Post 22217284)
Is Uber Eats (Or Grubhub/Doordash) a good way to keep our local restaurants running? There is a local Banh Mi place that I really like, but I suspect that even before recent dislocations they were hanging by a thread. I see that they will deliver through Uber Eats, although the fees effectively double the price of a sandwich. That would be ok, I guess, I really have a yen for their grilled pork Banh Mi.

Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees for local restaurants.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uber Eats
Order with $0 Delivery Fee
To support the community, you get a $0 Delivery Fee on any order from a local restaurant.

ETA: It looks like GrubHub is offering free delivery for local restaurants for your first delivery only. DoorDash doesn't seem to have any thing special right now.


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