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!

Tips for Planning Your Spring Break Staycation

Spending your spring break vacation at home this year?

There are a myriad of reasons to spend your spring break at home this year. Traveling is expensive for one, and many people have canceled upcoming trips due to the coronavirus endemic. But, regardless of the reason you’re staying home this year, there’s a lot to look forward to!

Traveling is amazing, don’t get me wrong. I love to see new things and experience new cultures. But, it’s always just a little bit stressful. Plus, there’s just something about a staycation that has a special place in my heart. Staycations are amazing because they allow you to catch up on things you love doing but don’t have time for in your typical schedule. Best of all, at the end of the day, you get to come back to your own home and sleep in your own bed.

I like to pick a project or two to do around the house on a staycation, but don’t spend your whole time working. Give yourself time to relax, unwind, and decompress.

6 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Staycation

#1. Pamper yourself.

Self-care is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s easy to push aside our own self-care when we have full schedules and others who rely on us. A staycation gives you the gift of time, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than with a little pampering.

Find a local massage therapist or a day spa. Getting a massage or a facial is a great way to melt away the daily stress of life. You could also visit an acupuncturist to help you relax and unwind, or you could visit your local nail salon, barbershop, or beauty salon to reinvent your look.

#2. Pretend to be a tourist.

Have you ever noticed how tourists tend to see a lot more of the notable attractions around you than you do? If you’re like most people, your time is spent working, running errands, getting the kids to their various activities, etc. — in other words, the day-to-day activities of life. There probably isn’t much time for you to enjoy what’s around you like someone visiting might. But, a staycation gives you the perfect opportunity to do so.

Pretending to be a tourist might mean seeing a musical or a play at the local theater. It might mean going to a baseball game or a basketball game. It might mean going on a tour at the local brewery, factory, or capitol building. If there isn’t anything you want to see or do in your own community, chances are, you’re probably not more than a few hours away from something you’ll find interesting. Taking a day trip is a fantastic way to spend your spring break.

You could even treat yourself to a luxurious ride to your destination, or just around town, by turning to a local limousine service.

#3. Go on a food tour of your city.

If you’re like most people, you probably go to a handful of different restaurants around your community. When you have a few favorite places to eat, it’s easy to get a rut — even if it’s a delicious rut. There are most likely lots of amazing places to eat in your community, and since you’re saving all of that money by not taking a trip, it’s the perfect opportunity to splurge and try some new restaurants.

Look up restaurants in your community with the best reviews, and consider branching out and trying something new. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, too, and choose options from different parts of the world, as well as different types of restaurants, including sit-down restaurants, food trucks, and cafes. Make a list of a few restaurants that sound interesting to you, and try a new one each day or every other day.

#4. Learn something new.

Learning is something we should all strive to do as much as possible, and there are lots of ways to continuously learn in your daily routine. However, finding time to learn a new skill or deepen your knowledge of an existing skill isn’t always easy. Your staycation gives you plenty of time to do so.

There are so many great learning opportunities around you. You could attend a class at the local rec center; you may even find a free class. Some restaurants and grocery stores offer cooking classes. You could also consider signing up for a cocktails and painting class with some friends.

#5. Replenish your closet.

Does it feel like you’ve got a ton of clothes but nothing to wear? It’s a sure sign that it’s time to clean out your closet. Take some time to pull out anything you don’t wear often — or at all. You could consider donating it or selling it to a consignment store.

Once your closet is cleaned out of everything you don’t want or need, it’s the perfect opportunity to go shopping and fill it back up a little. You’re not paying to go on an expensive vacation, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the spring sales, so you might as well. Stop into your favorite stores, and consider checking out a few new stores in your area. You might just find a new favorite!

#6. Attend a new fitness class.

If your gym is anything like mine, all of the best classes seem to take place during the day while I’m at work, and on the weekends, there are so many people in the class that finding a place for my yoga mat can be almost impossible. Luckily, your staycation is a great time to attend one of those mid-day classes that can’t fit in your regular schedule.

If you don’t already belong to a fitness center, your staycation is also a fantastic time to check a few local fitness centers out. Some might even offer free day passes or trial classes. Some fitness centers offer five-day or week-long passes. Whether you’ve always wanted to try a Bikram yoga class, a kickboxing class, a spin class, or any other type of fitness class, make it a point to do so on your staycation.

Make the most of your staycation with Top Rated Local®!

With a little planning, and the help of a few great local businesses, your staycation can be just as memorable as a trip across the country or world would be. Start your local business search with Top Rated Local today!