Local business needs us more than ever
Local businesses routinely get asked to support every type of organization with donations, whether monetary, in-kind, gift cards or advertising in programs. Amazon.com and other national online retailers never support Fredericksburg’s organizations, yet because of their convenience a lot of dollars get sent their way.
Our small businesses need us now more than ever. COVID-19, a previously unknown virus, has thrown our world, our local economy, and about every small business into a tailspin. Owners are justifiably worried, from those just getting by to those with a financial cash flow cushion. There is just so much less business getting done, especially in our market, which is heavily reliant on more than 1.5 million visitors to inject a healthy amount of revenue.
Our support of local businesses now could literally mean the difference between whether they are able to return once this virus has passed or whether they will shutter forever. Conditions have become that dire for many.
Our larger corporations do a lot of good things. But most of them have little to no presence in our market. They also have tax advantages and ready access to capital to help them manage through crises. Your local mom-and-pop shop — from restaurants, to retailers, to watering holes — operate on a thin margin. Sometimes for these small businesses, there “is too much month left at the end of the money,” as financial guru Dave Ramsey puts it.
Having a short-term operating deficit is one thing — we all experience slow weeks or months but can still pay our bills. But fully depleting a business’s reserves is another. There is nothing to pay employees, rent or suppliers, and a small business owner may have to make painful layoffs or, worst of all, close for good.
The plan to combat COVID-19 is extreme, but it is what health professionals say is needed to stop the spread. It will affect every local business we know and love — including this newspaper.
When we shop at the Amazons of the world, our dollars fly out of the community. They don’t remain to pay employees or purchase local goods, which then hopefully get turned over again and again on more local goods and services.
Fredericksburg has weathered economic storms better than most, but this crisis is different. It may last weeks, and each dollar spent in this community can be seen as a critical investment. Our shopping decisions, without the influx of visitors, will shape our town’s landscape.
Every local business will be challenged, whether it is reducing hours, changing how they provide services, or even finding new ways to serve customers.
Please shop local. Those small businesses which are always there when we seek support now need our support more than ever. – K.E.C.
Here is a list from the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau of local restaurants that are open for take out, delivery or curbside service. https://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/covid-19/support-restaurants/