How to Support Local Businesses During COVID-19
Many local businesses are struggling in the current circumstances, but things will get better eventually. The support we show now can help local businesses weather this storm and continue serving our communities in the future. Here are a few ways you can show support to your favourite local businesses during COVID-19.
In a time when we are increasingly shopping online, consider checking with local stores to see if they have shifted to also offer online shopping services. Thinking about a Whistler business first, can make a real difference to these entrepreneurs in a time of need.
Many businesses in the service industry who have had to shut their doors due to social distancing measures, have online stores that are still open for business. Showing support by buying merchandise can help cover overheads such as rent and staffing costs, and show the business owners the strength of the community.
Buy a Gift Card
Even though we can’t sit down to a meal at our favourite restaurant right now, we can show support by buying a gift card. A lot of bars/restaurants are promoting gift card purchases at the moment, as they provide a quick injection of cash to help them cover staffing and bills.
Leave a Review
Reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost. They appear in prominent positions on Google search listings, and play a role in improving the search ranking of a business. If you’re not in a financial position to make a purchase, a positive review on Google or other industry-specific review sites can make a huge difference.
Many traditional sit-down restaurants are now offering delivery services, enabling their customers to continue enjoy their favourite meals from the comfort of their homes. If your favourite restaurants are offering delivery, show your support and place an order.
Check out these inspiring examples of local businesses coming together in support of #TeamWhistler. If you know of a business that has taken steps to help Whistler through this pandemic or made a creative shift in their business model in order to stay afloat, please email us so we can share those stories.
With the help of trusty Facebook-savvy helper Jeanette, a post on their Website, and some very supportive and vocal moms in Squamish, Armchair Books have changed their business model. They are taking phone and online orders from Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton and offering free delivery! Owner, Dan, says “Overall, we’re making enough to cover overhead, and more importantly, we’re connecting with our community in a way that we haven’t done before.”
Audain Art Museum
The Audain Art Museum endeavoured to provide engaging content virtually throughout its period of closure. This involved a series of live talks by artists entitled Tuesday Night Talks, offering a unique opportunity for online participants to simultaneously enter the Museum and the artist’s studio or home via Zoom during the evening. With COVID-19 procedures in place, the AAM reopened to the public on June 26th, and is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am – 6pm.
Barber Media & RAW
The Restaurant Association of Whistler has collaborated with Barber Media to create a free online app called, Taste Whistler. The food & beverage industry has been one of the hardest hit during this pandemic, and the Taste Whistler app provides restaurants with a platform to communicate to the community what services they are providing at this time, and allows users to be informed about who is still operating and how they can support their favourite small businesses.
BCIT & the Whistler Learning Centre
The Whistler Learning Centre works with BCIT to provide our community with business, media, and leadership courses. Instead of cancelling in-person courses due to COVID-19, the team explored a new option. Working with Tourism Whistler, Fall 2020 classes will now be held in large rooms in the Whistler Conference Centre. This allows for physical distancing and fills large event spaces at a time the business of conferences and large events has been put on hold.
Event Rental Works
Event Rental Works are using the slower summer months to reach out to local businesses to provide patio solutions. The goal is to help restaurants and pubs maximize their space and serving capacity. They are already working with businesses in Whistler and Pemberton who are feeling the strain of restricted capacity, helping to create solutions for possible bad weather that could eliminate patio revenue.
Feed the Need Campaign
Seven long-standing Whistler businesses, all located around the Village Square, joined forces to donate to Whistler Community Services Society. Their donation was matched by WB Foundation to bring the total to $7,000. Thanks to the leadership of Shane Holland at Whistler Hardware, along with Moguls Coffee House, evo Group, The Grocery Store, Armchair Books, Coast Mountain Photography and Foto Source, this donation is a great start to the FEED THE NEED campaign.
GetintheLoop Whistler is built to support local businesses, by connecting businesses to locals through the mobile app, push notifications, email, social media, and local websites. In response to the current situation, they have shifted their platform to help the community discover local businesses that are open for pick-up, delivery, gift cards and/or ecommerce offers. This shift helps businesses to capture attention, drive return business, and increase sales as business evolves.
Hunter Gather Whistler
Hunter Gather Whistler is “Coming Together While Staying Apart”. From April 29 their kitchen is re-open for TO-GO orders, available for pick up or delivery. The team has adapted their large space and patio to allow for customers and their team to be safely 2 meters apart during the TO-GO process. Their online ordering portal has been updated to be streamlined and easy. Re-opening allows them to support their local suppliers and thank the Whistler community!
Hy’s Steakhouse Whistler
Hy’s Steakhouse Whistler is offering Hy’s at Home – Take Out, complete with cooking instructions. Pick up prime grade steak to cook at home! They also have chef videos for step-by-step instructions on how to perfectly grill your Hy’s steak at home. To launch this initiative, all gratuities collected from Hy’s pick-up service were donated to community food banks.
Perez McKenzie Immigration
Perez McKenzie Immigration has taken steps to assist our community by reducing consultation fees on April 1st for Whistler clients, to help offset the effects of COVID-19. They also offered free 15-minute Q&A sessions early in April 2020 to help those with quick immigration questions during these uncertain times. They are keeping their blog, Facebook page and website up-to-date with articles and immigration information; to offer some clarity and reassurance during this time.
Rising Knead Bakery
Meg Stringfellow and her team at Rising Knead Bakery have been supplying many of Whistler’s restaurants with traditional naturally fermented sourdough breads and pastries for some time. Now that a lot of those restaurants have had to close their doors, Meg quickly shifted her business model to online orders and home deliveries, thereby ensuring that her and her staff can continue to work, and Whistler can continue to enjoy her delicious breads.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
The SLCC is reopening to the public Friday, June 26. Hours of operation for the museum, gift shop, and Thunderbird Café will be 10am – 5pm Thursday – Sunday, including statutory holidays. In place of indoor guided tours, they will host guided forest walks along our Salish Stroll three times daily at 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. These will be included in Museum Admission. Online offerings will continue at SLCC.ca/FromHome.