It’s Going to be More Important than Ever to Support Local Businesses

By now the COVID-19 virus has impacted hundreds (if not thousands) of small businesses in our community. People are postponing travel plans, they are not spending their dollars on local restaurants or retail – and are canceling events left and right. This is wreaking havoc on small businesses.

Imagine that you are an event entertainer or venue or event rental company (or janitor or hourly employee) and you make your income solely from events and that this weekend alone you had seven events cancel on you. Now what? Imagine that you are a local restaurant (or server), but people are staying home instead of dining out. Now what? Imagine that you are a boutique hotel or a travel agency, but no one is traveling. Now what? Imagine that you are a local clothing boutique, but people are worried about buying anything beyond absolute necessities at the moment. Now what?

There are hundreds of small businesses in varying industries who are feeling the immediate impact from COVID-19. Even if we can’t step in and support these businesses right this moment – it’s important to support them whenever possible and as soon as our country and community stabilizes from the outbreak. Because the reality is that we need these local businesses to stay afloat to keep our community strong. Small businesses provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and create meaningful jobs. They foster the local economy – by keeping money close to home and supporting our neighborhoods and local organizations. Small business is SO important.

As soon as the outbreak runs its course – we encourage you to consider keeping your dollars local whenever possible, in order to help these small businesses bounce back. Because for small businesses – every dollar counts and ultimately benefits the community we live in.

Tangible ways to support local after COVID-19 has run it’s course:

Shop Local: Instead of buying on Amazon or big box stores (I know, I know… it’s convenient…) – consider seeing if that product is sold locally (even if it costs a few dollars more). Not only does that help a small business, but it also helps the environment by reducing the amount of packaging materials and the impact that expedited shipping can have on the earth.

Community Events: Attend local community events. A lot of planning and efforts go into community events and they are a great way to get out and support local businesses. Many local events will hire locally sourced entertainment (ie: face painters, character companies, photographers, balloon artists, musicians, etc) and also hire local event rental companies for things like table linens, microphones, photo booths – you name it. Local events keep money circulating in our local economy and are a great opportunity for you to have fun with your families while being involved community events.

Eat Local: Buy locally sourced food (at a farmers’ market or grocery store) or eat at restaurants that support our local farmers. This offers higher quality food and more sustainability while reducing the carbon footprint that food can have on our environment.

Bank Local: Another way to keep your money in your community is to literally keep your money at a local community bank or credit union. Generally you will receive lower costs and better service while supporting the local economy.

Invite Friends + Family to Visit: Whether or not our city is a hot spot for tourism, there is no doubt that there is plenty to do here! Have them stay at your house – or when possible (or necessary), encourage them to book at one of our local hotels. There are several that are locally owned or managed.

Subscribe to Your Local Paper: Local news adds value to your community by supporting local businesses through news and publicity. They rely heavily on readership and advertising dollars to operate. It’s no doubt that their advertising dollars may take a large hit from this, as their advertisers are forced to readjust marketing budgets.

Do you want to support local businesses RIGHT NOW?

Consider purchasing gift certificates to your favorite shops, restaurants or businesses that rely heavily on foot traffic (ie: museums, trampoline parks, gyms, etc) that you could either gift to a friend (or keep for yourself!). Or consider planning a fall or summer event or birthday party. This will help the bottom line of these small businesses while they try to stay on their feet and recover!

This is just the tip of the iceberg for how to support small, local businesses – and while COVID-19 inspired this article, really it’s important ALL the time. If we missed something – please let us know.

*Madison Mom is also a small, locally owned and operated business that strives to support and enrich our local community. While the economic impact is less direct with our industry, it is still effecting our business through having to cancel or postpone events (that we worked on for nearly a year) and through partners who are seeing their industries suffer. We believe that we are all stronger together and are grateful to be part of such a wonderful community!

Alisa Sleep
Alisa was born and raised in Iowa before attending Arizona State University. She then lived in Chicago, Georgia and Florida before settling in Madison. From her nomadic lifestyle grew a love for the beach, as well as a fondness for spicy food, sushi, white wine, southern charm, Diamondbacks baseball and idyllic ocean sunsets. Alisa and her husband, Joe, are parents to Ava Mae (August 2012) and twins, Nora & Jacob (March 2014). Alisa is a work-from-home mompreneur with a passion for business, fashion, fitness, community and all things mom. When she’s not enjoying time at home with her family, you can find her sweating it out on the tennis court, training for the next big race, pinning her heart out on Pinterest and exploring Madison with her little ones (and sweet Boston Terrier, Peaches) in tow.


  1. You don’t even have to wait until its run its course. 1013 cases and 31 deaths in a country of 350 million is sad, but NOT the next Black Plague. The 2009 Swine Flu was much worse and nothing got closed. Take normal precautions, but LIVE YOUR LIFE!

    • Hope you’re under sixty with no heart or lung issues. If not, go right ahead and live your life….as long as it lasts.

  2. Yes, it’s true there aren’t that many cases at this time. This is just the beginning, and we suspect this will get much worse before it gets better. Don’t ignore the warnings, even if it doesn’t affect you personally, whether you realize it or not,you can be infecting others who are vulnerable. Another way to support the local businesses is to buy gift certificates that will help sustain them during these challenging times, especially those favorite establishments that you frequent. Let’s come together in our respective communities and show the United States the face of kindness it so desperately deserves.

  3. Gift certificate purchases can actual place a burden on business for the future. Sure they give them no way now, but they are on the hook for the redemption of those cards in the future and won’t be getting as much cash then. If lots of people buy gift cards now, it can just be a delay of the impact.

  4. Oh so that 1.5 trillion to the stock market isn’t helping local business?

    Stop expecting more from regular people then the government! People are making less they’re going to shop affordably. They need to do what’s best for them.

    The government put 1.5 trillion in the stock market from the federal reserve, that does nothing for the people that actually need it.

    At what point is enough, enough?

    • Several observations: the Federal Reserve is independent of the government. Moreover, they didn’t put the money “in the stock market”; they released it to ease credit for individuals and small businesses that will need it during the economic slowdown associated with people staying home. And those ARE “the people that need it”.

    • Great attitude. Local merchants get nothing from the stock market. But you go big box until theres nothing left but empty stores and Walmart. Then compare how much you saved to how little your house is worth.

  5. I like how you said that shopping locally also helps the earth by reducing the shipping materials needed to get our item. I think the environment and small business are both important things to remember during this crazy political time. Thanks for helping me see why shopping at local gift stores and markets would be a good way to contribute to the cause!


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