Want to help local businesses survive?
We live in crazy times and survival often requires crazy ideas.
I’m going to share with you in a moment an idea that may help many local business owners who are struggling.
They are the people who own businesses, employ our friends and neighbors, sponsor kids’ activities, teach Sunday School and often serve in local public office.
They are the bedrock for our communities and many of its needs.
The idea is 1 a weekly newspaper has tried successfully. I’m sharing it because it may be worth trying here.
The New Orleans Gambit, an alternative-weekly similar to Free Times in Columbia, wanted to support local businesses during the covid-19 pandemic.
They came up with Adopt-a-Small Business, a plan to support locally-owned shops and restaurants by allowing their patrons to “adopt” them through donated advertising.
Due to the pandemic, the Gambit itself had to deal with its own challenges. It had to furlough some staff members, go to a 4-day work week and publish every other week instead of once weekly.
Publisher Jeanne Foster wanted to help small businesses advertise their products and services to attract customers.
She started offering 4 ad packages:
• For $125, adopters could fund an 1/8-page ad for a favorite small business,
• $200 would fund 2 1/8-page ads.
• $350 would fund 3 1/8-page ads
• $500 would fund 4 1/8-page ads.
The donation rates were heavily discounted by the Gambit as its own contribution to the small businesses. And the 4 choices kept it easy to donate.
On the newspaper’s landing page, adopters only needed to select the package they would like to donate and the business or businesses they wanted to adopt.
Then the newspaper contacted the businesses on the adopters’ behalf to work with them in creating their advertising.
The first businesses to be adopted were a restaurant and a yoga studio. In 3 weeks, 50 readers adopted 80 businesses.
An adopter wrote: “Thank you for coordinating efforts for adopting (a) small business… Small businesses and the community at large value your efforts to help.”
The publisher said, “I hope this helps local businesses reach new customers with the goal of strengthening the New Orleans small business community.
“I am grateful to the shops, restaurants, bars and service providers who chose us to market their business via print and digital advertising. I hope this will continue to build positive relationships between us, our readers and local businesses.”
The idea is simple. Will it work here? I don’t know. That’s up to you and our many other readers to decide.
I do know many local shops and restaurants are having a struggle with social distancing, serving customers safely and luring some employees back to work.,
Please let me know if you want to help a business owner you like.
Next: Who influences you?