Commitment to Community. Local business owners are hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while many are struggling financially, there is a silver lining — an increased sense of community. In times of crisis, small businesses depend on their community to rally behind them. Similarly, those same businesses remind us how important they are to the economic and social fabric of our society.
In an effort to support small businesses during this time, local chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and other community organizations are working tirelessly to provide resources to neighborhood establishments. They are sharing information and providing education on COVID-19 safety guidelines and mandates, and connecting small businesses with supply chains to access hand sanitizer and PPE. Our community is using social media to network for neighboring mom-and-pop shops and providing innovative solutions for marketing online. Dakota Electric is proud to be a longtime member of these organizations and is dedicated to partnering with those who support our small business members.
Difficult situations inspire inventive solutions. Many local businesses have made clever pivots to service customers without human contact. While restaurants and bars offer online ordering and curbside service, some neighborhood businesses engage the public directly. Eagan Arms Public House owners, Lee Tomlin and Tracie Munce, opened their Eagan restaurant in February 2020. To ensure their success during the pandemic, they began hosting virtual food tasting events on Zoom and created Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner packages for curbside service. However, even with creative solutions, the pandemic still poses problems for them and other entrepreneurs (Page 4).
When you shop local, your dollars stay in the community. Local businesses return a total of 52% of their revenue to the local economy, compared to 14% of national chain retailers according to the Institute of Local Self-Reliance. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Education and Economic Development notes that small businesses account for 47% of jobs in Minnesota. Supporting our neighbors by buying local builds a cooperative relationship and helps the whole business community prosper.
As we move past the holiday season, consider shopping local if you have the financial means. Thank you for serving our community. We’re all in this together!