With great sadness, we recognize that it hasn’t been an easy last few months for Toronto's small business sector. Just before the holiday season began — often one of the most profitable times of the year for small business — the city was forced back into lockdown. Restaurants were once again made to rely solely on delivery services and takeout. Small stores were prohibited from having customers inside their shops.
Small business owners have been amongst the hardest hit by lockdowns and government mandates. As of September, the province of Ontario saw an 8.3% drop in active businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Many of our customers have asked us how to support local businesses in Toronto. As the city prepares to reopen the economy once again, the uncertainties attached to the ongoing pandemic have made it difficult to map out all the ways we can help our city’s small businesses get their feet back on the ground.
While there are several ways we can show our support, we’ve listed three of the easiest ways to shop local and support small business — whether it’s from home or in-person. We’ll also review why it’s so important for us to do our part in supporting members of our local community.
Purchase gift cards
While it might be hard to say when it will be right to eat inside (or outside) of a restaurant again, that time is definitely in our foreseeable future. Buying a gift card is a great way to reserve a spot at your favourite local restaurant — not to mention that it’s also a way to help contribute towards their cash flow and help keep them afloat during this indefinite period of downtime.
Buying a gift card at a local store you’ve been waiting to shop at is another great way to provide them with a cash infusion when they need it the most. If you’re thinking of a simple, safe gift to acquire for an upcoming friend or family member’s birthday, a gift card for their favourite local shop is sure to be a winner.
Shop online or curbside pick-up
Buy your stuff, get it delivered. Try it in the comfort of your home (turn it into an online party with your friends, or Story it up on your Insta). If you decide that it doesn't work at all - return is super easy - go back to your online purchase (most of the time you can follow a link from a purchase confirmation email) and click on return. Most e-commerce sites will create a return label with one click and most retailers will cover the cost of shipping it back. Then just wrap the item back into the package it came in and bring it to the post office with the label. The amount of days for your return starts from the day you have received your package (as stated by the delivery company).
To make matters even easier, local social media manager Ali Haberstroh put together Not-Amazon, a Toronto-based directory providing links and resources to over 500 local businesses. The Toronto Market Company has also provided a list of over 90 local vendors. We strongly encourage everyone in the GTA and nearby to check out these excellent resources and show these businesses their deserved support!
Leave a positive review
If cost is a concern and you’re not able to dish out the cash to purchase a product or gift card from your favourite local business, why not leave them a positive review on their Google, Facebook or Instagram pages? It’s completely free, quick and easy to do from just about any device.
Not only does leaving a positive review for a small business help put a smile on their face — it also helps them with their online search rankings, which can do a world of good when helping them win more business. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher they’ll rank in online search results. This just goes to show that even the smallest gesture can make all the difference to someone in need!
Why is supporting local businesses important?
Lastly, we’ve reached the most important question.
A select few of the reasons why it’s critical to support our local businesses include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Their support of communities and job creation
- Their positive impact on our city’s local economy
- The many eco-friendly and sustainable products they provide
- Their dedication to providing an ideal customer experience
As a proud member of Toronto’s small business community and the Church-Wellesley Village, our team at Grapefruit proudly advocates for the support of our city’s local business sector during this difficult time. We strongly encourage everyone across the city to do their best to support their favourite local stores, restaurants, vendors and bars — even if it’s simply just leaving them a positive review or a friendly comment on one of their social media platforms!
We look forward to seeing you at our store once again! If you’re wondering how you can support Grapefruit from home, we’re always open for business at our online shop. Be sure to check out our winter sale before it ends — we’re currently offering up to 60% off on select items. Get them before they’re gone!