Remember all the small businesses that you have asked for years to donate to your clubs, events and organizations? Now is the time to return the favor!
Let’s be honest, our local merchants and restaurant owners are generous when it comes to giving back to the community. From supporting youth sport teams, to donating a gift basket to the charity auction, to contributing to community improvement projects, they step up.
What happens if these local businesses were not here? This is something that looms large over our community right now.
Business as usual ceased across the State of Ohio when the Ohio Department of Health issued an order on March 15 for all restaurants to limit service to carry-out only. This was followed on March 22 with the Director’s Stay At Home Order requiring all non-essential businesses to close their doors.
These orders were issued in the interest of public health, but to the owners of these restaurant and retail establishments they were met by disbelief. To be told that the operations which provided their livelihood were non-essential was nothing short of devastating.
“The COVID-19 crisis has really impacted our business in a negative way,” stated Jill Demlow, manager, Jerry’s Café and Bar in Orrville.
Jerry’s had just completed a new addition, The Garage, for outdoor dining as the pandemic hit.
Practically overnight, residents in Wayne County disappeared into their homes and their dollars disappeared as well.
For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain or online retailer? Only $43 finds its way back into the community according to Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.
Rally Around Restaurants and Retail is a movement to raise public awareness of the crisis facing our local small businesses. The Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce introduced the movement in May with a series of videos posted to their social media channels.
The short video clips featured restaurant owners or managers sharing how the pandemic had impacted their business. Many also took this time to thank their customers for their continued support.
The Chamber plans to continue the video posts with retail and service providers in the coming weeks. They will be including a meal coupon to a local restaurant as part of the Chamber Awards Program that will be delivered has a hybrid event experience later this month. The Chamber has also started offering gift cards to participants of their Roundtable webinar events in place of the coffee or lunch that would have accompanied live events.
“It’s not just about keeping the brick and mortar shops open,” remarked Lori Reinbolt, president & CEO, Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s also about local access to goods and services, as well as keeping our neighbors and friends employed so they can provide for their families.”
The mantra “we are in this together,” has been stated repeatedly in recent weeks. Now is the time to put this call into action and rally our support around the local businesses that have given so much to our communities.
Follow the Rally Around Restaurants and Retail movement @orrvillechamber on social media.