The order to close businesses in Alabama has left many of us asking how we can best support small businesses during this crisis. If you can financially do so, please consider going out of your way to support locally-owned South Birmingham businesses and organizations right now. Here are seven ideas on how to do that:
1. Order takeout
Bars and restaurants have been ordered closed, but many are finding ways to offer takeout. Some are even offering delivery services for the first time. Call your favorite local restaurants or visit their Facebook pages to find out what alternatives they're offering customers. You never know what you might find if you ask! For example, we heard that Frio's is doing drive-thru service and is now even delivering popsicles!
2. Change your habits
You might only grocery shop at Publix or Walmart typically. But those large businesses have more resources to help employees and stay in business throughout this crisis. Instead, think about shopping at places like locally-owned butcher shops, produce markets and farms. Here are some options (in no particular order):
- DJ's Fine Meats (Alabaster)
- Smiley Brothers Specialty Foods (Pelham)
- Mi Pueblo Supermarket (Pelham)
- Burnette Farms Market (Pelham)
- Mr. P's Butcher Shop and Deli (Hoover)
- Mountain Sun Farm CSA (local pickup locations)
- The Market at Pepper Place (pioneering a drive through farmer's market)
- The Garden Market (Montevallo)
- Walden FARMacy (Bessemer)
- Little Savannah Restaurant and Bar (Birmingham) - selling raw meat by the pound, dairy, eggs and produce
- Alleluia Acres Heritage Farm (Alabaster/Columbiana) - taking orders for pickup on Saturday and selling shares for whole or half pigs (pork)
- New York Butcher Shoppe (Birmingham)
- Super Oriental Market and Red Pearl Restaurant (Homewood)
3. Plan ahead
Have a birthday party to plan for later this year? Reserve a location or entertainer now. That support -- and a down payment! -- will give small business owners a boost during a scary time for them. Check out our Birthday Guide for ideas.
4. Make summer camp plans
It might be hard to picture right now, given the situation, but summer is just a few months away. Now is the time to plan for summer for your kids. Then reserve those spots for camps now. Businesses and organizations will appreciate that support! Check last year's Summer Camp Guide and our Business Directory for a list of local summer camps.
5. Buy gift certificates
Almost any business will allow you to buy a gift certificate for later use. Most have online options. That will give them the cash they can use now to pay bills and employees, and you can look forward to spending it when restrictions have lifted. Gift certificates aren't just for restaurants -- think about businesses ranging from Altitude Trampoline Park to Shaggy Chic Pet Grooming to BumperNets to Riverchase Car Wash and Detail.
6. Don't ask for your money back
Extracurriculars canceled? Gyms closed? Daycare shuttered? Consider asking for makeup classes or time rather than asking for your money back. They need every penny you can afford to offer right now to stay solvent and pay employees. Have you seen similar businesses offering virtual online classes? Maybe your favorite business would be willing to do that! Just ask!
7. Donate to Grace Klein Community's Food Bank
While many secondhand stores are not accepting donations or consignment currently because of the coronavirus, places like Grace Klein Community are helping families suffering financially during this crisis -- like laid off restaurant workers, retail employees, and others. You can make cash donations online. Food donations can be dropped off at 2652 Old Rocky Ridge Road, 35216. Or if it is a larger donation, GC can send a driver to pick it up.
Also note, if you are in NEED of food, Grace Klein will provide food no questions asked. No applications, no waiting list, etc.
8. Check on your favorite entertainment venues and ASK how you can help!
Some of these local non-profits and businesses are really struggling. Help keep them afloat so they are there for you when this is over. For example, Birmingham Children's Theatre has set up a GoFundMe to cover the cost of productions they have had to postpone and may have to cancel. Donate HERE and visit their FB page to see the online activities they've been sharing.
I hope these ideas have helped you feel a little less powerless in this time of uncertainty. If you have any ideas that would be useful to add here, please email me at email@example.com
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Macaroni Kid South Birmingham is a free weekly e-newsletter and website focused on fun family events and things to do with kids in the South Birmingham region. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week, and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, school and camp guides and more. We proudly serve families in downtown Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, the Oak Mountain and 280 area, Helena and Alabaster.