Winter is coming and, with it, local food businesses are bracing for impact. As we cozy up and stay safe at home, our beloved restaurants and shops are navigating the need to pivot, yet again. “There's an upcoming season of hustling hard, reinventing, celebrating small joys, and unfortunately, suffering some substantial losses,” says Lauren Bloom of Blom Meadworks.
The coming months aren’t going to be easy and supporting each other is going to be more important than ever. As customers and community members, we can show our support to the businesses that make where we live vibrant and unique in a variety of forms. And this support doesn’t need to be in person, or be monetarily based, to be impactful. Challenge yourself to commit weekly to one of the following opportunities to bring joy to yourself while helping our critical small businesses survive:
- Get Social - Follow your favorite local businesses on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. Like, share or comment on their posts. Invite your friends to follow them. Need ideas on who to follow? Check out Taste the Local Difference’s Instagram feed and Facebook page, as well as Local First to see non-food vendors as well.
- Write a Review - Have something great to say about the restaurant down the street? Love the online shopping experience at your local grocer? Drop them a review on Google, Yelp or their Facebook page. This encourages others to give the business a try!
- Send a Note - Times are hard for all of us and kind words are sorely needed, especially if you own a small business. Share your appreciation and encouragement for your local businesses via email or snail mail and don’t expect a reply.
- Visit - many restaurants, shops, grocers and other businesses are open and have adapted to provide COVID safe experiences. (Click here for the details of the latest epidemic order) If you feel safe, visit in person. Here you can find a list of businesses with outdoor winter dining experiences available in different regions of Grand Rapids. It’s impossible to name them all, but here are some fun examples of adaptations around Grand Rapids:
- Field and Fire Cafe has set up some outdoor mini greenhouses for outdoor winter dining and use of a digital menu. Be sure to make a reservation, and note that only one party is allowed in each greenhouse.
- Speciation Ales has a “Cultured Club Membership” which includes 12 exclusive batches of wild ales, natural wine and craft seltzers, and discounts at their taproom and heated patio.
- The Winchester and Donkey Taqueria have outdoor domes for contactless dining.
- Elk Brewing has a heated patio and is offering 6-packs of a new spiced ale called “Happy Effing Holidays 2020” to bring some holiday laughs.
- House of Wine has built small “huts” that seat 4 each (and look pretty warm!)
- Malamiah Juice Bar and Long Road Distillery are collaborating on Apple Steamer cocktail kits!
Whatever action you choose to take, thank you for supporting small businesses! And please remember to be patient and kind. These are heavy, hard times for all of us so give others, and yourself, some grace.
Taking any of the above actions? Tag us on Instagram (@tastethelocaldifference) to show how you #tastethelocaldifference, #shoplocal and #supportsmall .