Tom Stangl

So, how are you doing?

It’s been a remarkable week with every day bringing new information about the COVID-19 pandemic. As children continue their education at home and many begin working from home, I appreciate you spending some time with us.

We will be updating our websites with breaking news and look forward to keeping you informed about local developments, but we also want to let you know about the many positive things occurring now.

I wanted to take some time this week to talk about our local businesses who are struggling during this time of social distancing. We received information from Green Shoot Media, a vendor we use for content for some of our special sections, with tips how you can help local businesses now and make sure they are there for you in the future.

As many American businesses shut down or scale back their operations to prevent spreading the coronavirus, you may be wondering what you can do to help.

Even during a pandemic, there are ways to support the many small businesses in your community that might be struggling. 

Use delivery services

Many businesses offer curbside or home delivery options. This has been a growing trend in recent years because of online shopping, but the pandemic has made these options seem less like a luxury and more like a community service.

If a restaurant or retailer offers some kind of delivery service, take them up on it. You’ll be able to do your shopping or enjoy a delicious meal without the public health risk of gathering in large groups.

Buy gift cards

Even if a business temporarily shuts its doors, you might still be able to help them out by buying gift cards for future spending.

See which of your favorite local businesses offer gift cards or gift certificates, either online or in person. 

If you have the means, buy a gift card now that you can enjoy later. You can either use it yourself or give it as a gift for birthdays or holidays. Local businesses could use the support right now.

Be polite

Where businesses are open, be polite and thankful to the people working there. Retail workers are under stress to restock shelves and keep customers calm amid an unusual uptick in demand for groceries, medical supplies and other essentials. If the shelves are empty, that’s the fault of customers doing panic buying, not the store’s workers. Be part of the solution by not purchasing more than you need.

Spend big later

Make it a point to support local businesses in a big way as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Businesses still have utility bills, rent, loans and payroll expenses during the pandemic shutdown. Their resources will be stretched thin. You can help them survive and thrive for the long term by being ready and willing to do business with them again as soon as they reopen.

With your help, local businesses will be back up and running — and serving as the backbone of your community — as soon as possible. 

This is all great advice. Times of crisis define who we are as a community. We will be living with each other during these times as well as when they pass. Let’s make sure we can look back and be proud of our actions.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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