I have always lived in what many would consider a small town. To me, a small town is a “Cheers” sort of place, where everybody knows your name. If you have to budget time in your grocery trip for stopping and talking to people you might run into, you probably live in a small town. Brandenburg and the Meade County area, however, are different than other places I have lived. Here, the community really does rally behind small businesses, and in the time of COVID-19, that has been made even clearer.
Small businesses have really taken the hit from COVID-19 harder than most. Bigger stores are often able to absorb the loss in revenue because they have deep pockets. Small businesses are usually family owned, and often times, those pockets are not nearly as deep. Locally, I am really proud of how our small businesses have reacted.
Firstly, they have taken it all in stride. They have not turned to social media to rant and rave about how the regulations are unfair. They have not stopped being charitable when needed. They have shown a lot of maturity by stepping up and doing what has to be done. The pandemic has forced many small businesses to reevaluate their business model. Lots of restaurants have now utilized curbside pickup and delivery options, something they were not doing at all or at least as often before. From the owners I have spoken with, it has been a huge success.
Not only have they adapted their business models to suit the times, but they have also continued to provide excellent customer service. I cannot walk into Wal-Mart and be greeted by someone who knows my name. There is just something so nice about walking into a business and being greeted with a “Hello Seth!” One of my coworkers said that she and her daughter visited Abe’s Country Village the other day, but they arrived after hours. The owner opened up the shop for them, something she didn’t have to do. Can you imagine showing up at Best Buy after they have closed, knocking on the door, and expecting to get in?
The government has made lots of monies available to small businesses who are struggling during these times, but that is merely a drop in the bucket. We as a community have to step up and support them, too. Believe me, I know that sometimes it is hard. Small businesses cannot compete with big box stores as far as prices go. Additionally, we are all so spoiled by clicking a few times on Amazon and having whatever we want or need delivered right to us. We have all tightened our belts amidst this pandemic – and many of us are not sure if we are going to get a paycheck in a month. Even with all that considered, the benefits outweigh the difficulties by a significant margin to support small businesses.
When you shop locally, you are putting money not only into the pockets of your friends and neighbors who own businesses, but into the community as a whole. Small businesses donate a lot of time and money to local events, organizations, and charities. The more that small businesses prosper, the more the community prospers.
Times are tough for everyone, but eventually, COVID is going to end. I do not know about you, but I don’t want a single business that was here before the pandemic to be gone after it ends. That’s only possible if you, I, and every other Meade Countian comes together and shops locally.