SUMMARY: Learn why it is still important to support Houston small businesses after lockdown.
It’s been a little over a year since Texas logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country have closed, and 9 million more are still in danger of going out of business.
Small businesses provide 45% of all the jobs in Texas, so when they go under, the effect across the state is real and immediate. Houston small businesses have suffered, too. Even while lockdown restrictions have eased thanks to increasing vaccination rates, local businesses in Houston aren’t yet out of the woods.
If you’ve been wondering how to support small businesses so they can be sure to survive the coming year, we have a few ideas.
1. Eat Local and Small
While the greater Houston area has plenty of excellent chain restaurants, small, locally owned restaurants, ice cream shops, bars, coffee shops, and bakeries especially need your consistent patronage to get back on solid footing. So eat out. Whether you order takeout or delivery, or you take advantage of outdoor seating, spending money with local eateries won’t just feed you; it will keep your neighbors employed and ensure Houston dining maintains its diversity.
2. Skip the Big Box Stores
Big box and department stores are incredibly popular thanks to the convenience of one-stop shopping and the perception of lower prices — especially on big ticket items. But shopping small for many items won’t necessarily cost you all that much more, and the customer service and quality you receive is likely to be better. Here are some items to purchase from local businesses instead of national chain stores:
- Vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Whether you head to a farmers market or you sign up for a farm share, buying local produce will help Houston area farmers stay in business, and you’ll get healthy, nutritious, and delicious food at the same time.
- Home improvement items. Lumber, paint, screws, and the like might be cheaper at your massive home improvement department store, but knowledgeable insight into what you really need is often easier to get at local, small lumber yards, and hardware stores.
- Clothing. While department and clothing brand stores carry a wide array of threads, Houston is home to dozens of local, small clothing shops and boutiques offering unique and one-of-a-kind clothes.
This list is not at all exhaustive, as you can buy almost everything you need from a Houston area small business.
3. Write an Online Review
Another fast and simple way to help out local Houston small businesses is to leave positive online reviews for them. Google My Business, Yelp and other sites make it easy for you to rank and review businesses. These rankings and reviews influence others when they’re deciding where and how to spend money.
Lockdown may have eased here in Houston, but the economic effects of COVID-19 are still very real. So shop local and shop small.