Creative Ways People Are Supporting Small Businesses Amid Coronavirus — and How You Can Help (Video)

Businesses — and their customers — have rallied to keep on going.

While social distancing and sheltering in place has become somewhat of a norm as coronavirus continues to have a worldwide impact, local businesses — that rely on their communities to keep them up and running — are looking for ways to stay afloat.

Food from Kare Ban Ban in Austin, Texas
Julia Keim

Loyal customers have shown their support by buying gift cards, shopping online, or ordering takeout to give local spots an extra boost, however some have taken their contributions to the next level by implementing their own creativity and skills. In the inventive examples below, locals from Brooklyn to Montreal are lending their talents and resources to support their hometown businesses, workers, and charities that need it most.


T-shirts and tote bags with local bars on them from Barwears
Courtesy of Barwears

Salt Lake City design studios — Anchor & Alpine, Coel Studio, Hot Slice Design, Adobe SLC, Infinite Scale, and Ian Dalton — have banded together to design and create merch for local restaurants and bars. They are donating 100% of the earnings to #TipYourServer, an initiative created by the Downtown Salt Lake City Alliance that is helping thousands of hospitality workers who lost their jobs due to coronavirus and the earthquake that hit Utah on March 18.

“We were thinking of ways to help our community, and decided that we could use our design experience to push people to donate,” Jake Hill of Coel Studio told Travel + Leisure. “It’s not a ton, but we all want to do whatever we can to help during this trying time.”

The eye-catching designs showcase the spirit of the community and make the local brands shine. T-shirts, tote bags and stickers can be purchased at the Barwears website.

ATX Living Room Picnic

Due to state restrictions and business closures in Austin, locals Lindsay LeRoy and Lauren Travis of All Collective decided to step up and organize an event to help some affected small businesses. On Saturday, April 4 nearly 40 local restaurants and bars are offering picnic-style specials for a city-wide living room picnic.

“The ATX Living Room Picnic aims to foster a sense of community during this difficult time while providing direct support for small local businesses, as well as creating a fun activity that Austinites can do at home with their families or loved ones,” Lindsay LeRoy shared with T+L.

The duo went further to curate a playlist with the SIMS Foundation featuring Austin-only artists to accompany the at-home picnic. If you’re in the Austin area, you can participate via the ATX Love Local website, and all of us can get a taste of the Austin music scene on Spotify.

Elena's Digital Cookbook

Elena, a hip Montreal restaurant, has put together a home cook-friendly digital cookbook written by Elena chef Janice Tiefenbach, writer Stephanie Mercier Voyer and owner Marley Sniatowsky. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, a program that is supporting local workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Recipes like Kale! Caesar! and Monsieur Fun-Guy Al Taglio aim to bring some joy to the table during this time of isolation. Find the digital cookbook here.

Franklin + Emily

Franklin+Emily wooden kids desk for home school
Courtesy of Franklin + Emily

Brooklyn-based chef-turned-carpenter David Mawhinney has quickly created desk sets for kids that are now learning at home.

“It’s important for kids to have their own comfortable and independent space for learning at home,” Mawhinney said.

To give back to the restaurant industry, Mawhinney has hired cooks and employees that have been laid off during this time. “As a small business our impact might be small, but through hiring restaurant employees we are trying to do our part to do all that we can to support our local economy.”

The Franklin + Emily desk set comes to your doorstep fully assembled and ready to use.

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