Buying Gift Cards & Other Ideas to Support Local Businesses

Local businesses need our support more than ever before.

You may not be able to visit your favorite local businesses right now, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop supporting them. In fact, there are lots of ways you can still support them, and it’s a good thing, too. Right now, those businesses need our support more than ever.

Local businesses are the lifeblood of the communities they serve, but the spread of coronavirus has made it impossible for many local businesses to keep their doors open, and difficult for many others. You can help to mitigate some of that fallout by making it a point to support the local businesses you love.

We all have a favorite local restaurant, boutique, flower shop, etc. that we’ve turned to time and time again, and if you are looking to extend your support to your favorite local businesses, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of ways you can help without actually visiting them in person.

How to Support Local Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

Buy a gift card.

Do you have a monthly appointment with a local beauty salon or barber shop? The money you would have used on your appointment can still go to the business now, even if you can’t get your hair done quite yet. Buying a gift card is one of the most direct ways to support local businesses near you, and it means that you’ll have your next haircut paid for already.

In addition to offering financial support, buying a gift card also helps you offer moral support to local businesses that may be struggling. It shows that you’re so confident in them that you’re willing to pay in advance for their services, and that goes a long way.

Some businesses may be offering gift cards online, so their website is a great place to start looking for a gift card. You may also consider calling them. Even if their doors aren’t open, they may be answering their phone.

Order delivery or takeout.

You may not be able to visit your go-to restaurant at the moment, but many are offering carry-out and/or delivery options in lieu of in-person dining. According to the FDA and CDC, there’s no evidence thus far that coronavirus can be spread through food or food packaging, which makes ordering take-out or delivery a safe way to support local restaurants and bars at this point. But, there are some safety rules you’ll want to keep in mind.

If you order carry-out, make sure to follow the same safety procedures you’d follow in any other situation — stay at least six feet away from others, don’t go out if you’re exhibiting any symptoms, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after contact.

If you order delivery, consider choosing a no-contact delivery option for the safety of both you and the delivery driver, and pay/tip over the app or online instead of using cash, if possible. Immediately wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after moving the food to your own dishes and disposing of the packaging.

Don’t cancel appointments; reschedule them.

If you don’t have the financial means to buy a gift card but want to give them as much of a morale boost as possible during this time, consider rescheduling any upcoming appointments you may have with them rather than canceling them outright.

A little positivity can go a long way during times like these. Showing that you’re confident in them enough to keep an appointment on the books will help them to find a reason to stay positive.

Show your support online.

There are so many ways to support local businesses that go beyond supporting them in person, and these days, when a business’ online reputation can make or break their success, your online support can count for a lot. If you’ve worked with a local business many times, now is the perfect time to write a review for them online.

Reviews are beneficial to local businesses in many, many ways. For one, people trust reviews, and by recommending a local business in a review, you’re helping to generate more customers for them. Reviews can also help businesses rank higher in organic search results, which will help to improve the visibility of the business online.

The great thing about writing reviews for your favorite local businesses is that it doesn’t require you to spend any money, which may or may not be an option for you at this time. And, any positive words you have for the local businesses you love will surely help them to keep their heads held high until we get through this.
In addition to writing reviews for the local businesses you want to support, it’s also a good idea to spread the word about how awesome they are on social media.

Ask how you can help!

Not every business offers delivery or sells gift cards, and if you’re running out of ideas on how to support them during this difficult time, why not call and ask them? At the end of the day, every local business is different, and they’ll know best what you can do to support their own unique journey.


Write reviews for the local businesses you love today!

Just because you can’t eat at your favorite local restaurant doesn’t mean that you can’t still support them. I hope that this blog will inspire you to give a little love to the local businesses that work so hard to make your community what it is.

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to support your favorite local businesses is by writing reviews, and that’s where we come in. With Top Rated Local, not only can you write a review, but you’ll be able to rank local businesses based on the five pillars of the customer experience, which will help you provide more effective feedback. You’ll also know exactly which verified review sources the business is listed on without having to visit a bunch of different websites.

Find the local businesses you love on Top Rated Local today!

South Dakota’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2020

While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, we didn’t want to let that stop us from celebrating the amazing small businesses of South Dakota!

Known for its most famous landmark, Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is a wonderful state to live in and visit. In addition to being home to the “playground of the dinosaurs,” mashed potato wrestling competitions, Hurbert Humphrey, Tom Brokaw, January Jones, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Coyote State is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make South Dakota such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of South Dakota, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2020. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2020 award winners in South Dakota.

To calculate our 2020 winners, we’ve looked at each business’ Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites, and the business’ average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has, and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of South Dakota and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 355 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 95.32 and average star rating of 4.86. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 69.98 Rating Score and a 4.26 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in South Dakota that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in South Dakota for 2020 — Wilson Orthodontics. An orthodontics clinic that’s dedicated to helping its patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles, Wilson Orthodontics is Sioux Falls’ premier source for orthodontic care. Wilson Orthodontics has received 604 reviews across five verified reviews sites with an average star rating of 4.90, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of South Dakota for 2020.

Congratulations to all of our award winners in South Dakota for 2020, and we commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.

Coronavirus Safety Tips for Buying or Selling a Home

Buying or selling a home can be stressful in the best of times.

Did you know that moving and buying or selling a home are considered to be some of the most stressful life events people deal with? And, that was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Like almost everything else in life, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that we buy and sell homes in the United States. But, if you’re in the market — or about to be — you’ll be glad to know that it’s alive and well.

Although it’s too soon to really know how much of an impact COVID-19 will have on the real estate market, for now, historically low interest rates have led a lot of buyers into the market, many for the first time. While a lot of industries have pushed paused, the real estate industry remains strong.

The real estate market is still kicking, but that doesn’t mean that coronavirus hasn’t had an effect or that there aren’t any precautions you need to take in order to keep yourself safe during the process.

Staying Safe While Buying or Selling a Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

#1. Find the right real estate agent.

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in the midst of a booming economy or during a pandemic, you always want to do so with the right real estate agent on your side. One of the most important aspects of staying safe during the coronavirus crisis is social distancing, which means limiting your contact as much as possible with others during the buying or selling process. That also means that working with a REALTOR® you can trust is absolutely essential.

Flexibility is another valuable quality in any real estate, but as things change rapidly with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s even more valuable. You need your real estate agent to be nimble and agile enough to cope with the changing market in order to get you through the process.

Find a real estate agent near you with Top Rated Local®. You’ll be able to read a REALTOR’s reviews from across a variety of verified review sites. And, with the Rating Score™, you can get a quick snapshot of how each real estate agent is ranking overall online, allowing you to quickly compare.

#2. Take advantage of virtual tours.

In the age of coronavirus, fewer buyers are opting to attend home showings in person, and even fewer sellers are hosting open houses. This is a good thing for the safety of everyone involved — the buyer, the seller, and the real estate agent — but it can be difficult for buyers to truly get a feel for a home with pictures alone.

The fact of the matter is that pictures can be misleading. Just because a home looks great in photos doesn’t mean it will look just as good in person, and most buyers need more information in order to commit to buying a home. This is where virtual tours come in.

Many real estate brokers and sellers have opted to provide buyers with digital house tours through FaceTime and other programs. In fact, Zillow has seen a 215 percent increase in the number of tours created using its software since the pandemic hit. Some brokers have even started video taping themselves touring homes.

#3. Prepare carefully for showings.

If someone is really serious about wanting to buy a home, chances are, they’re going to want to see it in person. Virtual tours are great, but they can’t replace in-person showings completely. And, luckily, by taking several precautions, buyers and sellers can stay safe during in-person showings.

Here are a few precautions sellers can take for in-person showings:

  • Limit showings to only people who are truly interested.
  • Limit the need for anyone to touch anything by keeping lights on and doors open.
  • Sanitize your home before and after showings.
  • Require that anyone coming into your home wears gloves and booties.

Here are a few precautions buyers can take for in-person showings:

  • Only request in-person showings for homes you’re seriously considering.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after seeing a home.
  • If you’re sick, do not attend a showing.
  • Refrain from touching anything while touring a home.

What to expect at closing.

Many parts of the buying or selling process can be done remotely, with about half of the states allowing notaries to do their jobs virtually. However, as of right now, in-person closings are still happening in states where notaries cannot operate digitally, but, of course, there are a few differences.

These days, in accordance with CDC guidelines, there can be a maximum of five people at a closing. Closings are often done around larger tables, as well, which allows everyone to maintain a six-foot distance from each other, and everyone has their own pen so no sharing is required.


Find the right real estate broker near you with Top Rated Local.

Whether you’re buying a home, selling a home, or both, there’s a lot on the line, especially right now. Make the situation a little less stressful by ensuring that you have the right real estate broker on your side.

Don’t settle for just any real estate agent. Ensure you’ve found the right one by doing your research with Top Rated Local. Get started today!

What to Look for in an Electrician

Need an electrician in the midst of the coronavirus craziness?

There are few local businesses operating normally these days, but luckily for us, electricians are still around and there for you when you need them. But, now more than ever, if you find yourself in need of an electrician, you want to ensure that you’ve found the right one.

Inviting an electrician into your home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. In the best of times, you need to know that you can trust the electrician you hire to get the job done right with safety in mind. In these times, though, you also want to ensure that anyone you hire will also keep your safety in mind when it comes to coronavirus.

Suffice it to say, you need to know that you’ve hired the right electrician for the job, and when you know what to look for in an electrician, it can provide you with the peace of mind you need.

How to Find an Electrician You Can Trust

#1. Start with Top Rated Local®.

Often, when you search “electrician near me” on Google, you’ll end up with tons of results to sort through, each of which will claim to be the best electrician. But, unfortunately, they can’t all be the best, and the number one way to sort through the many electricians you find online is to learn what their clients are saying about them.

When an electrical company calls itself the best, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. But, when an electrical company’s clients call it the best, it means everything. There’s only one place online where you can read an electrician’s reviews from across a variety of review sites, and that’s Top Rated Local.

Top Rated Local pulls in a local business’ reviews from every verified review site it’s listed on and gives it a Rating Score™ out of 100.00 that reflects its overall online reputation. It also guides reviews by ranking business’ on the five pillars of the customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience, and satisfaction. In short, it’s the perfect place to start your local electrician search.

#2. Find out about their experience.

There are a variety of different electrical issues you may be facing, from wiring problems to flickering lights, and electricians vary in the services they offer and the experience they have. It’s important to ensure that the electrician you hire not only offers the service you’re looking for but also has experience doing the job.

If coronavirus has taught us nothing else it’s that you never know what will happen, and when you invite an electrician into your home these days, you need to know that they’ll be able to get the job done. Now more than ever, you don’t want to have to hire another electrician because the first one failed. You want to limit your exposure as much as possible, which means that you need to know that the electrician you hire can get the job done and has the experience to overcome any unexpected problems that may come up along the way.

#3. Make sure that they are licensed and insured.

Electrical work can be incredibly dangerous, which is why I strongly urge you to hire someone rather than trying to handle the job yourself. But, it’s also why you should always double check that any electrician you hire has the proper licensing and insurance to do the job.

One moment of carelessness could lead to a serious injury when it comes to electrical work, and you want to ensure that any electrician you hire has your safety — and that of their workers — at the top of their mind. It’s also important to protect yourself from being sued if someone gets injured doing electrical work on your property, which is where liability insurance comes in.

This also protects you financially in the event that something gets damaged on your property during the electrical service.

#4. Find out who is doing the work.

A lot of people don’t realize that there are actually three different levels — Apprentice, Journeyman Electrician, and Master Electrician. Apprentices are required to have supervision while performing electrical services, and Master Electrician is the highest possible level for an electrician.

Just because an electrical company has a Master Electrician, it doesn’t mean they will be the one performing or even overseeing the work. That’s why it’s important that you double check ahead of time who will actually be doing the work. And, if the answer is an apprentice, make sure that their work is being overseen by someone with more experience.

#5. Ask what precautions they’ve taken.

Under normal circumstances, checking an electrician’s reviews, licensing, insurance, experience, and so on would be enough, but unfortunately, these aren’t normal circumstances. We all need to be a little more cautious, and that’s especially true when you’re inviting someone into your home. That’s why it’s important to make sure that any electrician you’re working with is taking the coronavirus threat seriously and find out what precautions they’ve taken to protect themselves and their clients.

Some basic precautions that any electrical company should be taking include making sure any employee who is sick stays home, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from clients, avoiding handshakes, and frequent hand washing.

Find an electrician near you with Top Rated Local today.

There’s always a lot on the line when it comes to hiring an electrician, and these days, there’s more on the line than ever before. Don’t take the chance of hiring the wrong person. Start your search for the right electrician near you with Top Rated Local.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe This Spring

Safety is at the top of everyone’s minds lately.

While safety has always been important, now, more than ever, it’s a regular focus for a lot of us. With the rapid spread of coronavirus, it’s not just firefighters and police officers who have to think about safety now; we all do. And, when you’re a pet owner, you have to think about your pet’s safety in addition to your own.

Spring, and also the coronavirus pandemic, bring about a lot of safety risks for your pet that you should be aware of. By knowing the potential dangers to your dog and how to avoid them, you can also avoid an emergency trip to your local veterinarian.

Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Spring

#1. Take your dog on walks, if you can.

Social distancing means avoiding unnecessary contact with others and avoiding large crowds, but for most people, it does not have to mean giving up walks with your dog. Walking is good for both you and your dog; we all need exercise, after all, and the vitamin D you get from the sun will help to fend off seasonal affective disorder.

Keep basic safety guidelines in mind while out walking your dog. Stay at least six feet away from others, and try to walk your dog during off-peak times of the day when fewer people are outside. It’s also very important that you walk your dog on a leash. This is about your dog’s safety as much as anyone else’s, as cars and aggressive dogs are both very real dangers that you should protect your dog from.

#2. Watch what your dog eats.

If your dog is anything like mine, they probably spend a lot of time eating whatever they can find, whenever they can find it. When I take her on walks, she tries to eat berries, goose poop, worms — anything she can get ahold of, and when she’s in the yard, all she wants to do is eat sticks. Some things are perfectly harmless, like grass, but a lot of things dogs pick up outside can put them at risk.

Sticks, for example, are sharp and could injure the inside of your dog’s mouth, and if your dog swallows a big enough piece of stick, it could potentially cause an obstruction in their bowel. Dogs who eat goose poop are at risk for both salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause diarrhea. And, there are several flowers and wild mushrooms that grow in the spring, many of which are toxic to dogs.

When your dog picks up something they shouldn’t be eating, redirect them with a toy or a bone. And, if your dog is a known-chewer, rethink leaving them outside unsupervised.

#3. Don’t forget about your dog when you’re stocking up.

As evidenced by the nation-wide toilet paper shortage that’s going on right now, lots of people all over the country are stocking up on the essentials they need. And, when you do, it’s important not to forget about your dog.

There are certain things you need to survive in the event of a mandatory quarantine, and there are certain things your dog needs to survive, as well. You should, of course, make sure that your dog has enough food, but it’s also important to get a full supply of any medications your dog is on.

#4. Keep cleaning products out of reach.

Spring is the perfect time of the year to deep clean your home, and with coronavirus spreading around, cleaning regularly is more important than ever. The Centers for Disease Control recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times per day, like doorknobs, cellphones, handrails, etc. Luckily, many of the cleaning products you have on hand will work well, but you can’t count on some of the more natural options, like white vinegar, to do the trick.

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently means that cleaning products will be around frequently. But, if you’ve got pets (or small children) at home, it’s important to ensure that you always take the time to put them away when you’re done. Dogs are curious by nature, especially when they’re puppies, and many common household cleaning products are toxic to them.

#5. Get your dog on a heartworm preventative.

Most people don’t think about mosquitoes coming out until May or June, but the reality is that they start coming out as soon as the temperature starts reaching at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis. And, with mosquitoes, comes the potential for heartworm, which is a parasite that can cause serious problems in dogs, including cardiac failure.

Luckily, heartworm is easily prevented by putting your dog on a monthly preventative medication. It’s never too early in the year to get your dog on a heartworm preventative; in fact, most veterinarians recommend that dogs get them all year.

#6. Protect your dog against fleas and ticks.

In addition to those pesky mosquitoes, the warmer weather also brings about fleas and ticks. If fleas and ticks are a problem in your area, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the options to prevent them. There are shampoos, collars, and topical and oral medications, so you have plenty of options to choose from, and your veterinarian can guide you on choosing the best option for your dog.

It’s also a good idea to be vigilant about watching out for ticks any time your dog spends time outside. This way, you’ll be able to promptly remove any ticks you find right away.

Find a veterinarian near you with Top Rated Local®.

The spring — and the coronavirus pandemic — comes with its own unique risks for your dog, but a little mindfulness can go a long way towards keeping them safe. If you do find yourself in need of veterinary care, turn to Top Rated Local to find a great veterinarian near you. With Top Rated Local, you can read a veterinary clinic’s reviews from across the web from one convenient place!

Mississippi’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2020

While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, we didn’t want to let that stop us from celebrating the amazing small businesses of Mississippi!

Known as the birthplace of the blues (and Barq’s Root Beer), Mississippi is a wonderful state. In addition to being home to the catfish capital of the world, John Grisham, Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, and the King of Rock and Roll himself — Elvis Presley, the Magnolia State is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make Mississippi such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of Mississippi, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2020. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2020 award winners in Mississippi.

To calculate our 2020 winners, we’ve looked at each business’ Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites, and the business’ average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has, and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of Mississippi and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 365 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 95.93 and average star rating of 4.88. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 69.97 Rating Score and a 4.26 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in Mississippi that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in Mississippi for 2020 — Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. A law firm that represents its clients in a number of different practice areas — from personal injury and wrongful death to workers’ compensation and product liability, Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. is Jackson’s premier source for legal representation. Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. has received 529 reviews across five verified reviews sites with an average star rating of 4.95, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of Mississippi for 2020.

Congratulations to all of our award winners in Mississippi for 2020, and we commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.

Shopping Etiquette in a Pandemic

Coronavirus has officially become a global pandemic, but people still need to shop for the necessities.

In a matter of days, life in the United States has become upended, and many of us are adjusting to the realities of this new way of life. However, regardless of how contagious coronavirus may be, people still need to eat, clean, and take care of themselves, and that requires a number of necessities.

Most of us are now working or attending classes from home, but that doesn’t mean that life stops. Shopping is one of those things that people still need to do, and while you may not be shopping for new shoes or a new wardrobe any time soon, you still need the basics.

No one wants to be the reason someone else gets sick, and the fact of the matter is that this new reality means that there are now new rules that need to be observed when you’re out and about.

The Right Way to Shop in a Pandemic

#1. Don’t go out if you’re sick.

The number one rule of coronavirus club is don’t go out if you’re sick. Keep in mind that the virus can affect people differently, and even if you’ve just been sneezing or coughing, you shouldn’t ignore it or chalk it up to an itch in your throat of allergies. If you’re feeling under the weather, and you need groceries or anything else, utilize no-contact delivery or ask a friend or family member to go shopping for you.

#2. Stock up but don’t hoard things.

If you get sick, you should be ready to quarantine yourself for at least 14 days. And, even if you don’t get sick, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends staying home as much as possible and only going out when you need to. That means that many Americans will need to stock up on the essentials, but that doesn’t mean that you should hoard things.

There are a lot of Americans out there struggling to get what they need, and it’s not because there are widespread shortages of food or toilet paper. In fact, there aren’t currently shortages at all, but the fact that some people have decided to hoard things has left a lot of others without. So, be thoughtful and kind and only take what you really need.

#3. Keep your distance.

According to CDC guidelines, people should stay at least six feet away from one another as much as possible. This can be a challenge in a crowded grocery store, but for your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s important to try. Six feet is approximately the distance of two shopping carts, so when you’re out and about, try to keep that distance in mind.

Don’t crowd around others in the aisle. If someone is standing in front of something you want or need, let them grab their purchase and move on before you go other there.

#4. Shop with your eyes instead of your hands.

Some people like to physically touch things before they buy them, and some people like to compare labels before deciding on certain items. These are both perfectly acceptable most of the time, but with this new reality, the less we all touch things, the better off we’ll all be.

Whether you’re trying to find the right pasta for dinner or choosing a tomato, refrain from touching things as much as you can. Instead, shop with your eyes and only pick up when you intend to purchase.

#5. Make a list — and a backup list.

This is not the time to wander listlessly down the aisles looking for something to call to you. If you’re following CDC guidelines, you should be staying home as much as possible and limiting your time out in public. That means that, when you go to the grocery store, you need to be prepared, which means having a list.

Going into the grocery store with a list will help you get in and out as quickly as possible. However, it’s also good to be prepared just in case certain things on your list aren’t in stock. Having a backup list will help you avoid having to make up alternative meal options on the spot.

#6. Bring bags with you.

People have been flooding grocery stores and pharmacies for days, and while there may be plenty of toilet paper and canned goods to go around if people weren’t hoarding them, the one thing that is in short supply are plastic and paper grocery bags. Do yourself a favor and make it a point to bring your own reusable bags with you when you shop.

#7. Be kind!

Social distancing is important for staying healthy and safe, but that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice basic human decency. A little kindness always goes a long way, and that’s especially true during these times of uncertainty, so in everything you do, try to be kind to those around you.

Some people who could really use a little extra kindness of the men and women who work in grocery stores and pharmacies throughout the country. The risks that you take by shopping is nothing compared to the risks they take by serving you, so recognize that and show them a little extra kindness and patience, even if lines are long and shelves aren’t as stocked as you’d like them to be.

It’s also important to remember that while you may be healthy enough to get out and go to the grocery store, others may not be so lucky. If you’re heading to the store, ask friends or neighbors who may not be able to go on their own if they need anything, and while you’re out, grab a few extra canned goods to take to your local food bank.


When you’re out and about, keep everyone in mind who’s working hard and putting their health and safety on the line for you. Leave them kind words and encouragement in the form of a review on Top Rated Local®, your go-to local business directory!

How to Stay Safe While Supporting Local Businesses

These days, local businesses need your support more than ever.

Most consumers know that, by supporting local businesses, they’re putting money back into their own community and helping to support their local economy. It’s the reason why so many consumers choose to support local businesses rather than giant corporations or big box stores, even if it means spending more money or sacrificing small conveniences.

If you’re serious about supporting local business, it’s more important than ever before to keep doing so. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are facing the same uncertainty that we all are, and, inevitably, small businesses are hit the hardest in times like these, and they are relying on your support more than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, supporting local businesses in your community is important, but it’s not more important than your health and safety. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to keep supporting small businesses in your community while also protecting your own health.

5 Tips for Staying Safe While Supporting Local Business

#1. Take advantage of delivery or carryout options.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the best way to avoid getting infected with coronavirus is to limit your exposure to it. That’s why so many people are working from home and taking online classes. But, work and school aren’t the only in-person activities people do each day. People also have to shop, eat, and live their everyday lives, but as much as you can, you should try to do so from home.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and others is to take advantage of delivery and carry-out options as much as you can. If you’re not sure whether or not a local business in your area offers one of these options, make it a point to ask. Businesses are working to stay ahead of the curve, and many of them are newly offering options like these in order to continue supporting their communities.

#2. Keep your distance.

Chances are, a lot of what you want and need will be available through delivery, but sooner or later, you’re probably going to have to get out in the world for one thing or another. But, when you do, it’s important for your own health, and that of others, to make sure that you always keep your distance from others.

When you do need to visit a local business in person, try to go when traffic is lite and the business is less busy. If you’re not sure when that is, you can always call and ask! In addition to avoiding a business’ peak hours, make sure that, when you do visit, you are always mindful about how close you are to others and maintain a distance of at least six feet from those around you.

#3. Stay home if you’re sick.

There’s a lot that we still don’t know about coronavirus, but there are also a few things that we do know, like the most likely way that it spreads. Although the virus can survive for a period on surfaces, and transmission can happen before symptoms even appear, for the most part, coronavirus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.

While supporting local business is important, it’s not more important than your health or anyone else’s, and since coronavirus is most effectively spread from people who are already sick and showing symptoms, it’s not a bad idea to play it safe by staying home when you’re sick (even if your symptoms don’t fit coronavirus).

Coronavirus is extremely contagious and isolating yourself when you’re sick is an important part of getting better, but it’s also an essential part of keeping others safe who may have underlying conditions that make the virus more dangerous. Do your part!

#4. Cover sneezes and coughs properly.

Not all coughs and sneezes have to do with coronavirus. You may just have allergies or a tickle in your throat, but if you’re out and about when that happens, it’s important to take proper precautions just in case. The truth is that coronavirus affects people very differently. Some people get very sick while others will experience a minor cold or might possibly display no symptoms at all, which is why it’s important to always be cautious.

Any time you do cough or sneeze when you’re out and about, don’t do it in the open or in your hand, do it in your elbow. This is the best way to avoid the needless spread of germs. And, afterward, make sure that you thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands.

#5. Make sure that you properly disinfect your home.

If you are taking advantage of delivery services, or you’re working with a local contractor in your home, like a plumber or a roofing contractor, it’s important to be mindful of the risks they’re taking in order to work with you. That means that you should make it a point to properly disinfect your home before you invite any contractors in.

According to the CDC, most of the EPA-approved disinfectants out there will work to kill coronavirus, and they advise using the appropriate disinfectant for the surface you’re cleaning. If you’re using bleach, use a quart of water for every four teaspoons, or mix five tablespoons of bleach for every gallon of water. If you’re using isopropyl alcohol to disinfect, make sure it’s at least 70 percent alcohol.

Stay safe while supporting local businesses in your community.

Protecting yourself in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to mean abandoning your support of local businesses. There are lots of things you can do to show your support while staying safe, and I hope that this article will help.

Whether you’re looking for a local plumber or a local grocery store, Top Rated Local® is your go-to small business directory. Start your local business search here, and read reviews from across the web.

How to Find the Right Roofer

When you hire a roofer, it’s important to get it right.

Your roof isn’t a small thing. In fact, it’s probably the most important part of your home from a safety and protection standpoint. So, when you’re in need of roofing services, you need to turn to a roofing company that you can rely to get the job done right the first time.

Hiring a roofing contractor isn’t like hiring a carpet cleaner or a painter. If the job doesn’t get done correctly with one of these contractors, it’s frustrating and will probably look bad, but at the end of the day, no one is in danger or at risk. But, that’s not the case with your roof. If a roofer makes a mistake, the consequences can be much, much bigger. That’s why you should never settle when it comes to hiring a roofing contractor.

Hiring the right roofer for the job takes a little more time and know-how than hiring almost any other contractor or local business. Luckily, your friends at Top Rated Local® are here to help!

5 Tips on Finding the Right Roofer

#1. Work with a local roofing company.

There are countless horror stories out there of a homeowner who hired a roofer that offered a five-year warranty, only for that roofer to be nowhere to be found when they actually need them. Unfortunately, roofing is one of those industries where scams are common, but one of the best ways to avoid a roofing scam is to hire a company that has a long history of serving your community.

Another reason why hiring local is beneficial is that a local roofer will understand the unique issues that affect roofs in your area. Whether your roof is prone to algae growth, hail damage, or wind damage, a local roofer will understand that, and they’ll be able to better prepare your roof for those kinds of common problems.

When I say to hire a local roofing contractor, that doesn’t mean hiring someone that just operates locally. You want to hire a local contractor that has an established reputation in your community.

#2. Double-check that they are licensed and insured.

You want a roofer that has experience, knowledge, and expertise, but equally as important, you want a roofer who is both licensed and insured to do the job. And, while you may have to take a roofing company’s word when it comes to their skill and knowledge, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) take their word when it comes to licensing and insurance.

In order to become licensed, a roofer must go through training that teaches them how to do inspections and perform services safely and effectively. Maintaining that licensing also takes work, and any repairs or installations have to meet current building codes. Licensed roofers also follow safety standards, and many of them offer warranties and contracts that help to protect homeowners like you.

Roofing isn’t exactly the safest job, and accidents happen even with the best of roofing companies. If the contractor you’ve hired doesn’t have insurance, you could be the one financially liable for any injuries that occur on the job. Always make sure that any roofer you hire is insured!

#3. Don’t look at the cost alone.

Roofing services aren’t exactly cheap, and when you’re in need of repairs or a replacement, you might be tempted to simply accept the lowest bid for the job without doing any further research. However, this could potentially be a huge mistake, and while it’s important to consider the cost, it’s certainly not the only thing you should consider.

If a roofing company offers much lower rates than what’s typical in your area, there’s probably a reason for it. Roofers that don’t have a lot of experience or don’t have a strong reputation in their community tend to low-ball when it comes to cost, but chances are, that cost-savings will result in the sacrifice of quality.

Where roofing is concerned, you get what you pay for. That’s not to say that you should automatically choose the highest bid, either, but if a bid is significantly lower than the rest, it’s a red flag.

#4. Find a roofer who shows instead of tells.

Roofing services are a lot like automotive repairs in that roofers and auto mechanics know a lot more about the subject matter at hand than your average homeowner or driver. That means that you need to be able to trust the roofer you hire to work with integrity and honesty, and to help you make the right decisions regarding your roof.

Beware of any roofer that tries to sell you a solution without fully explaining the problem or all of the potential solutions to choose from. Any roofer you hire should help to inform you so that you can make the right decision, and that often means showing instead of telling. And, they definitely shouldn’t just make the decision for you.

#5. Read reviews!

Every roofer you talk to or every website you visit is going to tell you that they are the best in the business. They’re all going to claim to offer great service and to get the job done right the first time. However, not every roofer can be the best, and not every roofing company will do what it claims on its website. The only way to know for sure what working with a roofer is really like is to learn what their past clients have said.

Reading reviews is a great rule of thumb to keep in mind when hiring any local business, but it’s especially important when there’s so much on the line. If the roofing contractor has a reputation for leaving jobs unfinished, making mistakes, or leaving their clients high and dry when they need them, reading their reviews will help you learn those things.

Find a roofer near you with Top Rated Local®!

When you look for a roofing contractor with Top Rated Local, you’ll be able to read each roofing company’s reviews from across the web and compare its overall reputation to the competition. It’s the only place where you can learn about a roofing company’s online reputation overall without having to visit tons of review sites and directories. There’s a reason why it’s become the go-to local business directory and review site. Find a local roofer near you today!

Minnesota’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2020

Known for its love of lutefisk, the best accent in all of the midwest, and having almost 12,000 lakes, Minnesota is a wonderful state. In addition to being home to the country’s largest mall, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, and the High Priest of Pop himself — Prince, the North Star State is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make Minnesota such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of Minnesota, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2020. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2020 award winners in Minnesota.

To calculate our 2020 winners, we’ve looked at each business’ Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites, and the business’ average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has, and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of Minnesota and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 393 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 97.65 and average star rating of 4.91. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 69.92 Rating Score and a 4.26 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in Minnesota that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in Minnesota for 2020 — Crimsoncare Family Dental. A family dental clinic that offers a range of services — from pediatric dentistry to dental implants — to care for its patients, Crimsoncare Family Dental is Maple Grove’s premier source for dental care for the whole family. Crimsoncare Family Dental has received 1,203 reviews across five verified reviews sites with an average star rating of 5.00, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of Minnesota for 2020.

Congratulations to all of our award winners in Minnesota for 2020, and we commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.