Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are saving lives, but they are crippling many small businesses that depend on in-store sales. As the coronavirus pandemic keeps stores, restaurants and other businesses closed throughout the spring, one Pennsylvania community has a plan that involves a beloved tradition from a different season. On April 25, Doylestown businesses will celebrate a “Virtual” Small Business Saturday to rally support from the local community.
Small Business Saturday occurs every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For small businesses across the country, it marks the official start of the holiday shopping season. This year, however, Doylestown small businesses are concerned they may not make it to the end of the year. At least one local business has already announced plans to permanently close, and others remain in limbo as they await government relief and try to serve customers from afar.
“While some businesses are still operating at a substantially reduced capacity, our hope is to generate enough support for these shops that they can have confidence they’ll be able to survive the duration of the stay-at-home orders,” says Derrick Morgan, co-owner of The Monkey’s Uncle, a boutique in Doylestown, and the creator of the Virtual Small Business Saturday campaign. “Our favorite businesses need support now more than ever, and I just hope that by creating this awareness it will spark enough love from the locals that we avoid seeing any more businesses close permanently.”
As the name suggests, Virtual Small Business Saturday will take place online, in full compliance with stay-at-home orders. Customers are encouraged to shop their favorite local businesses online, rather than swarming to the store like they do in November. Discover Doylestown, a Main Street group in the community, maintains a list of local businesses that remain able to serve customers through online sales, curbside pickup, and other socially distant means. More than 50 businesses have been added to the list, including restaurants, retailers, spas, fitness centers and more.
For example, The Monkey’s Uncle is offering free shipping and a discount on all orders for shoppers who miss sports. Doylestown Bike Works is continuing its bicycle service curbside for those who need to tune-up in order to get outside. Meanwhile, the Doylestown Bookshop is putting together a monthly subscription box called My Book Box to keep you reading while you isolate. Visit Discover Doylestown to see all the ways to participate.
There’s no question that small businesses are struggling to cope with coronavirus pandemic. Through creative campaigns like Virtual Small Business Saturday, these local institutions are finding ways to adapt to the uncertain times. Now, it’s up to customers to continue to show their support.