Editorial: Stick together and support local businesses

The downtown section of Yampa Avenue sits empty during Gov. Jared Polis' stay at home order for the state of Colorado amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joshua Carney / Craig Press
Craig Press Editorial Board:
Sheli Steele, Craig Press General Manager
Joshua Carney, Craig Press Editor
Paul Everitt, community member
Liane Davis-Kling, community member

Craig and Moffat County’s small businesses are a key part of our local economy but, right now, small businesses are hurting. The coronavirus has forced many of them to reduce hours or lock up and send workers home until things get back to normal.

A nationwide survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that an astounding 76 percent of small business owners say they’ve been affected in some way by the COVID-19 outbreak. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they’ve seen a drop in sales as a result of social distancing, while 23 percent had experienced disruptions in their supply chains.

While Congress just passed a $2 trillion relief package to reduce the financial impact the outbreak is having on small businesses and families, we — a community as strong and united as Moffat County and the City of Craig is — need to come together to support this vital part of our local economy. 

Yes, times are tough for almost everyone, considering non-essential workers have been forced out of work and money has been tight overall. But if we support local businesses, in the ways we have demonstrated before, we as a community can do our part in making sure a vital part of our economy survives.

Three simple things we can do that can have a big impact, like:

– Our restaurateurs have diversified the way they do business out of necessity right now. From adding delivery options to creating drive-thru pickup windows they are being inventive in continuing to operate.  We urge you to consider a new “dining out” option occasionally so that we may have the opportunity to “dine-in” when restrictions are lifted. 

— Shopping at small businesses online. Local stores may be closed, but their websites are up, and many are still taking and filling orders. The same goes for many service providers.  Numerous small businesses are offering online shopping options.  Really, this is a dream come true for many as we enjoy the luxury of shopping from home in our pajamas while supporting our friends and neighbors.  Additionally, take advantage of the new pick-up and delivery options for automotive service or…

— Buying gift cards to locally-owned businesses. The Craig Chamber of Commerce has a new site offering gift certificates to several local businesses, check them out or go directly to the merchant. Continue to pay for your hair cut or manicure in advance. Your stylist will be grateful you thought of them and it just may get you an earlier appointment when they can open back up. You might not be able to use them now, but you can once the outbreak has subsided.

Small businesses, after all, aren’t owned by big corporations based on the other side of the country. They’re owned – and employ – our family and friends and neighbors. Small businesses create jobs. These same small businesses that are struggling to survive are the organizations that support your  Little League team, 4-H, Girls Scouts and more. Small businesses create jobs. Small businesses give thousands of dollars to local charities.

Supporting local shops and restaurants now will lessen the impact this outbreak has on our community. It will help save jobs and make the local economy stronger because when we help small businesses, we help everybody.

Let’s take this time to life up and encourage each other. There’s hope to be had in a time like this, so let’s be kind and get through this together.

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