Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Small Business...Tuesday: Shopping Local, Shopping Small

One of my favorite developments to come out of this last month is the general public's commitment to shopping local. Knowing that the only way to keep small businesses open during this pandemic - or viable enough to reopen post-pandemic - is by making purchases now, many people are coming out (figuratively speaking) to support their favorite restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, gift shops, boutiques, bookstores, artists, photographers, and home-based businesses.

So today, I thought it would be fun - and hopefully beneficial to these businesses - to share some of my favorite places to shop local. I also decided to share a few of my favorite small businesses located elsewhere in the United States, but from which you can still order products, food, gifts, etc. Here we go!

First, these are some of our favorite small businesses in the Brazos Valley. The first section of the list includes establishments from which we have already shopped or ordered during this season, the second section of the list includes establishments we hope to support soon, and the third section of the list includes establishments we love and coincidentally visited immediately prior to the implementation of social distancing. (Links included when available.)

Second, these are some of my favorite small(ish) businesses found elsewhere in the United States. I have recently ordered from all of them except Lindsay Letters Co., though I ordered from Lindsey back in December and again in January.

Third, because of intriguing Facebook ads, I tried ES Provisions' pretzels and Cheryl's cookies, and the goods we received from both were delicious! I've also ordered a few new and used books - I Mom So Hard for me, the next three books in The Babysitters' Club series for Hallie, and The Diary of Anne Frank for all of us - from small, independent bookstores.

A note about spending... 
We're not wealthy, and I'm not spending thousands of dollars shopping online for things we don't need. But we are among the lucky ones who still have jobs and who can work from home without a great deal of trouble, and because of that, I am more than willing to support the small businesses I know and love and that I hope will weather this storm. 

Many of our purchases have been edible; we order takeout on Saturday nights and maybe one additional time during the week, and I've taken advantage of quite a few different take-and-decorate kits local bakers have offered. I bought presents for Hallie's birthday and small gifts for both kids for Easter, essential oils and hand sanitizer from my favorite non-toxic brand, a couple of "just because" gifts for friends, my Simplified Planner for the 2020-2021 school year, and materials for cooking and art projects at home, and we've continued to pay for dance and soccer, even though those activities look vastly different today than they did just a month ago.

And a note about shipping...
I read an article about how we shouldn't be ordering products online right now because doing so is putting warehouse employees as well as FedEx, UPS, and USPS delivery drivers at risk. I understand both sides of this argument (yes, the comments associated with this article absolutely constituted an argument) and fully acknowledge that in these unprecedented times it is virtually impossible to perfectly balance economic health and physical health; the tide needs to ebb and flow based on the biggest needs and the greatest risks at any given time. I have to hope and pray these employers do their part by creating safe work environments, so their employees can do their part by delivering goods, so I can do my (minuscule) part by making purchases to keep people employed and the economy stumbling along. I'm not going to delve any more deeply into this topic, but I will mention that whenever possible, I choose porch pick-up or drop-off (for local purchases), the slower shipping option (to allow essential items to be delivered more quickly), or to consolidate my purchases into as few shipments as possible (so delivery personnel make fewer trips to my house). We're all doing the best we can, and trying to help in whatever way makes the most sense given our current circumstances.

Last week we wrote thank you notes to our mail carrier and a
couple of days later we received a lovely message in return. 

Last but not least, these are my favorite social media sites these days.

Happy Tuesday, friends. As best you can, be kind, do your part, and wash your hands.

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