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Here’s how you can support local businesses during Coronavirus Pandemic

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Local restaurants, small businesses are suffering from lack of customers

As citizens of Van Zandt County take a mandatory retreat from their local shopping routine for a period, local businesses will be struggling to stay in business. As their customers have disappeared, their bills and wages have not. That’s where we can step in and help.

The federal government is trying to pull together a sizeable $1 trillion stimulus package to aid the economy, which could include loans to small businesses and direct cash infusions, but it’s still unknown how quickly that effort could materialize and at what scale. Local businesses are in a bad position right now and they may not be able to wait on the government to save them.

What can you do to help? That’s simple. Spend your money locally, no matter what the cost.

For those at home worrying that their favorite restaurant or business will be decimated by the time it’s safe to resume a normal life, or those who want to keep supporting service-oriented workers who can’t simply do their work remotely, there are a few things you can do:

Buy locally whenever possible.

If you’re thinking of stocking up on household staples, spend your money locally whenever possible and avoid going into Dallas or Tyler at big box grocers. Shopping locally saves local jobs and it does help ensure these businesses will stay in business once the smoke clears.

Buying gift cards today.

Purchasing gift cards today and holding them for a later day could help a local business. Gift cards equal immediate cash flow. And cash flow is the lifeblood of our local businesses.

Shop On-Line Locally.

Many local businesses sell their products online. Go to your favorite local business website or Facebook page and shop online.

Eat local.

Most all restaurants in Van Zandt County are impacted to the point where if they can’t cover their costs and make payroll, they will be in trouble. We were all informed last Friday to stay out of restaurants and bars for two weeks minimum. Two weeks with no customers could have devastating results for some of our favorite restaurants. Do your homework and find out if your favorites are offering pick-up or curbside service. Call your favorite restaurant, order your food or drink and go pick it up. Several restaurants are starting to deliver as well. The only difference, you will be eating your favorite meals at home. This way, you are still supporting our local restaurants and keeping them in business.

Here’s a great tool put together by the Canton Economic Development Corporation, Canton Main Street, CVB and Chamber of Commerce. Go to www.cantontxeats.com and you will find a list of local restaurants who are delivering, offer curbside service or inside pick up. This is a great way to plan your week.

And please don’t forget about our local farmers and producers. The Downtown Farmers Market will open on April 25 th , but you can get many of the products now by calling and arranging pick up with one of the vendors at the farmers market. Fresh eggs, meats and vegetables that may not be available at local grocery stores are just a phone call away. Check the contact list on the Canton Main Street website at cantonmainstreet.org/farmers-market.

Home project and repairs.

If you have been meaning to put up a fence, do some landscaping, replace a few windows or tackle any other home improvement repairs, now is the time to do it and it could help keep a local business in business. We have a number of hardware stores and lumberyards in Van Zandt County. You have the time to do your own DIY project and using local businesses can make a big difference.

Many high school students are off and would love the opportunity to earn some extra cash. Social media is a great way to get the word out that you are looking for some extra hands with your DYI projects as well.

Tip extra generously, if you can.

Delivery workers are especially vulnerable to contracting coronavirus, given the nature of their jobs, which are also grueling and low paying. This might be your pizza delivery person, or other businesses implementing a delivery plan during the crisis. If you can afford to tip 40% or even more, delivery workers would appreciate it and it would help them make up lost income.

There are great ways to continue supporting our local businesses in and around Canton. Please don’t forget how many people are impacted right here in our community and do your part to support them as they too are experiencing challenging times.