7 Ways You Can Support Local Businesses From Afar Right Now

City Guide


Written by Morgan Culhane

Published on March 19, 2020

Photo courtesy of Main + Downing in Hamburg

Have you heard? Due to Covid-19, we’ve temporarily changed our motto to “Stay In, Buffalo”.  And for the foreseeable future we will be posting content that shares how our community can continue to support local businesses while adhering to guidelines set by the CDC.⁠


Let’s be clear, staying in is our official recommendation plea, but while you’re doing that supporting local is still an option. Yes, you can support small businesses and practice social distancing at the same time. 

Closing down, even temporarily, is particularly painful for small businesses. As a community, we can still (virtually) come together to support our local businesses. After tons of requests for content surrounding how you can help, we pulled together this list of ways to keep your dollars local and help keep your neighborhood businesses afloat so they’re still there when we’re finally un-quarantined. 


1. Stay Home & Get Your People to Stay Home Too

The number one thing you can do is stay the heck home. Stay in. Socially distance. Don’t spread this thing. The faster we suffocate this virus, the faster the small local businesses (not to mention the whole damn economy) can get back to business. It’s truly the number one thing we can do to help.


2. Order Takeout & Delivery 

Dining in isn’t an option right now. Restaurants, bars, and breweries were ordered to close across the state in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. Luckily, many of these places are offering takeout and delivery options. 

You can support your favorite local establishments by placing orders with them. You can order local eats and even drinks right now thanks to extra special legislation. 

Beverage businesses, including breweries and distilleries, can stay open for to-go sales of cans and bottles as well as crowler and growler fills. Some places will even deliver beverages to your doorstep.  We have guides to restaurants doing take out, bars and restaurants offering adult beverages to-go, and even list of beer stores and breweries doing beer home delivery. Go nuts.


3. Buy Gift Cards

Buy now, redeem later. Purchasing a gift card and redeeming it later can help business owners survive the financial storm now. Think of it this way. If you buy a gift card from your local nail salon now, you’ll use it later. If you’re a regular somewhere, you’ll be back for a drink when they reopen. 

But really, it’s not overspending when you purchase from the places you’ll visit anyways. 


4. Shop Online 

Do you typically shop online? Be honest. Skip Amazon for now and spend your dollars locally if you can. If your favorite local boutiques and retail stores sell online, you can virtually (and safely) shop with them from your laptop or smartphone. Every purchase makes a difference right now. But really, keeping your spending local is more important than ever before. Check out our Community Updates Board for real time info on who is offering deals, special promotions, even curbside pickup.


If you don’t have extra money in the bank right now, we get it. There are ways to support local businesses for free.

5. Write a 5-Star Review 

How many times have you thought about writing a review for your favorite businesses, but you just didn’t have the time? Now, you have the time. Literally nothin but time over here. Write a positive review for your salon, fitness studio, neighborhood coffee shop, a local boutique, or really any local businesses. These businesses will appreciate the words of encouragement right now. 


6. Tune In Online

Local businesses are looking for virtual ways to connect with customers. Don’t leave ‘em hanging. If your favorite local businesses are live streaming on social media, tune in and engage. From at-home workouts to dance parties, it’s all happening online right now. Remember, we’re all in this together (yes, that’s 100% a High School Musical reference), and these businesses owners are surviving on your well wishes and supportive words right now. Check out our Community Updates Board for new postings about virtual experiences happening daily!


7. Engage Online 

Online engagement is not cancelled. Our rec? Engage with the brands you follow, especially the local ones. Engagement is contagious, but in a good way, and it’s completely free. Plus, it’s easy.  Take the time to simply comment, tag a friend, or share it on Stories. Trust us, it makes a difference – speaking from personal experience.


We want to know! How are you supporting local businesses? 

Written by <a href="" target="_self">Morgan Culhane</a>

Written by Morgan Culhane

Morgan is a storyteller with a passion for exploring Buffalo's food and beverage scene. She enjoys drinking craft beer so much that she started a business dedicated to promoting this industry. As the co-founder of Content on Draft, she develops social media marketing strategies for craft beverage companies in Buffalo and beyond… and she loves it!
Find More ➭

Holiday Guides

Enter your email to get The Insider Hit List - a timely short list of restaurants, things to do and more recommended by the Step Out Buffalo staff.


Forgotten Password?

You must be logged in to use this feature.