“It’s so bad. We furloughed almost everyone today. My dad is a mess.”
That’s the text message I received from my friend, a long-time restaurant owner. For years her family has weathered whatever the economy has thrown at them. They’ve changed their business and become more efficient. They’ve expanded their offerings and met the needs of their customers. They sponsored little league teams, fed the homeless, and bought advertisements to support school programming.
They’ve built a dream out of blood, sweat, and tears.
They didn’t ask for much. They weren’t looking to become wealthy. They only wanted to provide for their families and do what they loved—just like the millions of small business owners across the country suffering right now.
There is no “stay at home and relax” for small businesses. There is no “take this time for your family.”
The weight of the world is on their shoulders with no end in sight.
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Please know that your customers and your supporters see it, too.
We see the once-crowded parking lots practically empty. We miss seeing the friendly faces at our favorite restaurants or the barber who cuts our kids’ hair. We wince when we hear of increasing restrictions. We shake our heads in sadness as stores are mandated to close.
Adam Erace, an award-winning food and travel writer based in Philadelphia, recently started a campaign called #Five4Fifty, a pledge to spend at least $5 at a small business every day for the next 50 days. It won’t solve everything, but we’ll do whatever we can to help you stay afloat.
We’re all trying our best right now, but no one knows what to do. We try and order take out when we can. We buy gift cards at our favorite salons or local shops. We look to support you through online sales.
But it’s not enough to stop the fear that you’re feeling. I get that.
I know things seem hopeless right now, but let me make a promise to you: do your best to hold on during this time, and we will be back.
We will eat out as often as possible and shop in your stores. We’ll pick up extra donuts at the corner bakery and a bouquet from the downtown florist. We’ll buy gifts at the local book shop and a beer at the pub. We’ll tip our servers well and stop at the farm stand on the road.
I know you feel alone right now, I know you are scared, but we are in this together.
And I promise you, we’ll be back.