The coronavirus pandemic has had a real impact on how small businesses operate. The recent restrictions implemented at the start of the holiday season as cases surge has been another obstacle for local small businesses.
Now is where we, as a community, have to step up. Small retailers and restaurants are relying on us to support them this holiday, more than ever.
Economists prepared a survey to determine the impact of the pandemic on small businesses. Over 60 percent of small businesses reported the need to see consumer spending rise by the end of this year to keep doors open.
The guidelines implemented by governments worldwide are causing delays and challenges for small businesses, even more so for ones that want to promote fair trade and organic produce.
We suspect most small business owners cannot compete with the steep discounts big box stores offer on Black-Friday; however, we are sure each small business, including The Chai Bar, puts love and soul into the products they send out.
So this year, #ShopSmall, commit to doing at least some of your holiday shopping at local independent businesses. Shopping locally on Small Business Saturday (the 28th of November 2020) will go a long way; you will be creating local jobs and a revenue stream that will benefit your community.
Here are some small business owners that The Chai Bar has partnered with -
Shannon and Meagan own this delightful bakery.
"Crust is located in Northwest Philadelphia, in the neighborhood of Manayunk. Tucked away down a small side street, our little kitchen is where every item is mixed, scooped, baked, and frosted by hand. We value high-quality ingredients and strive to purchase local products when possible to support other small businesses & local makers. We are woman-owned and operated all-natural, and all vegan. Our goal at Crust is to find the balance between offering an affordable and quality product to you while also providing a living wage and supportive work environment to our wonderful staff. We also make sure there is always room to give back to our community within our costing structure. Being able to donate food and funds to the causes we feel passionately about is a privilege that we embrace wholeheartedly. We keep it political because food is political."
"Cuttalossa is a textile and home goods line founded in 2013. Based in Philadelphia - a hotbed for production in times past - Cuttalossa strives to reignite an economy for textiles made with care and built to last. Founder Shannon Retseck has developed a network of craftspeople from across the globe that serve this mission. She's curated a collection of organic hand-loomed bath & body textiles from a weaver's collective in Southern Turkey and developed a range of alpaca blankets and cold-weather accessories with a group of alpaca farms in rural New Jersey. Cuttalossa also features limited edition runs of home goods and accessories using repurposed textiles, natural dyes, and collaborations with like-minded brands."
Find them on Instagram
III. Riverwards Produce
Riverwards Produce is a neighborhood produce-market in the heart of Fishtown Philly. Shop for your fresh fruits, veggies, and pantry staples here. They are open 11-8 M-F and 9-8 Sat and Sun. (Tuesday is for seniors and immune comp 5ppl at a time)
At The Chai Bar, we are offering some special holiday discounts on limited tea blends until Sunday the 29th of November 2020, so stock up on your stocking stuffers, shop The Chai Bar Blends this holiday, and #shoplocal
A Modern Expression of NorthWestern Argentine Traditions, at Jezabel's Café and Bakery, our mission is to offer an authentic Northwestern Argentine experience in a warm and welcoming setting. It is a place for the community to gather and enjoy simple yet delicious food prepared using local fresh ingredients at fair and reasonable prices while promoting a more sustainable planet.
" I've seen my dreams come true, sharing food that is very close to my roots and family; yet as dreams keep evolving, I'm thrilled to solidify and strengthen my presence in Spruce Hill. The opportunity to keep expanding and creating new concepts that reflect my state in life while serving the West Philadelphia community is refreshing and powerful in itself." Jezabel
Lil' Pop Shop's unique ice pops and pies are hand-crafted in small batches from a seasonal assortment of fresh, natural, locally-sourced ingredients. No artificial ingredients or dyes are ever used in our ice pops and pies. Just fresh fruit, sugar, herbs, spices, organic eggs, milk, yogurt, and cream.
If you are wondering how to support small businesses without going into stores and exposing yourself to the VID, you can-
ORDER ONLINE: With the pandemic, many businesses have the option of online shopping. Check business websites/ Instagram page to see what options are available.
Some businesses that don't have websites still accept orders over text and may even offer personal shoppers to pick out produce for you.
ORDER TAKEOUT: Support your local eateries with a take out order. You can even order your holiday meals from a local diner. Now with states like Ohio permitting carry out cocktails, no need to play bartender; order the cocktails from your favorite bar.
SCHEDULE CURBSIDE PICKUP: Call in or order online and pick up gifts curbside to eliminate the need to go into a store.
PURCHASE GIFT CARDS: Add these to your gift list. Allow your loved ones to pick themselves a present from you. It can be a coffee or bakery treat at a local cafe, boutique clothing items, a massage or other personal service, a fabulous meal at a local restaurant, or a box of chai they can cherish for the winter.
REACH OUT TO LOCAL BUSINESSES:Many local businesses and associations have designed creative ways to shop small this holiday season. Contact them directly to learn ways to participate.
Shopping small makes a big difference, here's why you should be shopping from small business this holiday season.
It helps provide jobs for your community, keeps the money in your local economy, offers larger returns on many levels. Small businesses are involved in communities, supporting community events like fundraisers, fairs, and more. Business owners often work with local governments to make improvements that benefit the whole community. Small businesses also tend to be involved in communities beyond just providing goods or services. Supporting local businesses puts money into community events, sports teams, and fundraisers sponsored by these businesses. Likewise, business owners often become mentors and decision-makers in the community, too, working with local governments to make improvements that benefit all."
It helps protect your town's unique charm and keep the local market flourishing and diverse. Find unique handcrafted and hand-blended gifs that are one of a kind to the store.
It is a better way to shop. Have a clean(er) conscience by supporting businesses that promote fair trade. While not true in every case, smaller businesses generally have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey and are mostly mindful of their supply origin. The Chai Bar, for example, supports tea farms that support local communities. Our tea supplier provides scholarships to the children of the tea pickers to get a good education. Our other tea supplier often gifts a cow and cattle to the tea farmworkers to make them more independent and ensure they have a source of nutritious milk.
The Chai Impact
Our tea leaves are hand-picked in Assam - the land of tea gardens. Our tealicious chai is synergistically sourced; we aim to cultivate environmental stewardship and respect cultural identity.
Overall, small businesses offer a more personalized shopping experience; they tend to know more about their products and care more about customer service as every customer matters when you're a small business.
Whatever our budget can afford, this year our holiday spending makes a big difference. In 2020, every item purchased from a small retailer or local restaurant has three beneficiaries: the gift recipient, the small business, and our local community.
Join us in supporting small this holiday season. Our local small businesses are depending on us more than ever.
Happy Black Friday & Small Business Saturday!
Co-authored by Sargam Merchant and Madura Chaudhari