Now, this a blog I never thought I’d be writing. The coronavirus is a serious situation we’re all having to deal with now, and for many, that means staying inside your home and social distancing from your family, friends, and favorite local quilt shop. But now, more than ever, local businesses need our help to stay afloat. I polled my Facebook and Instagram audiences on ways we could offer support during this pandemic, and I hope this list gives us all a chance to feel like we’re helping and making a difference.
Shop online. If your local quilt shop has online ordering, continue to do your usual shopping through their website. It won’t be as fun as seeing the fabric in person and talking to the staff at the store, but you’ll still be able to get what you need for your projects. Many quilt shops are offering free shipping at this time to encourage their shoppers to stay safe in their homes.
Call in an order. If your local quilt shop doesn’t have an online store, consider calling them and placing an order for pick-up (or asking if they’d consider shipping it). The staff may be willing to pick out fabric options and send photos of fabric to help you decide. If you’re not comfortable going into the store, call them when you arrive and have them bring your order out to your car.
Buy gift certificates. If you don’t need any fabric right now, consider buying a gift certificate to the store. This will put money into their hands right now to help them through this time, and you can use the certificate eventually when you’re in need of something new.
Take store credit. If you were signed up for a class, workshop, or lecture, it may be canceled to keep attendants safe or you may personally choose to cancel to protect yourself. If this happens, consider taking a store credit instead of a full refund. That way, the store gets to keep the money they were depending on (and may have already spent on the teacher or traveling lecturer) instead of putting it back on your credit card.
Suggest an online class. Not all owners may be willing to do this or may not have the technology available, but if you’re friends with the owner, suggest turning an in-store class into an online class. Could they set up a private Facebook group, take a video of the technique they’re teaching or do the class as a Facebook live video, take questions in the group, and have participants post photos? That way, you can still take the class, support the shop, but stay in the comfort of your own home.
Spread the word. Follow your local quilt shop on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media sites they may have. “Like” their posts, “share” if you like what they’re posting, and “comment” your support. These actions raise awareness of the shop to others and help them feel supported in the work they’re doing.
Rate or review the store. Take to Facebook, Yelp, or Google to rate the business. You can give the store five stars and write a review about why you love the store. This helps other people in the area, but also travelers, see how great the store is and to consider a visit.
Reach out. This is a very stressful time for small business owners. They’re financially burdened, worried about the success of their business, and unsure what they can do. Give them a call, shoot them an email, or message them on social media to see how they’re doing. Drop off a coffee at the store to let them know you’re thinking of them. Let them know you haven’t forgotten about them or their store.
Volunteer when needed. Some stores may be dealing with staffing shortages. If you’re heathy and don’t mind leaving the house, consider volunteering your time to the store owner. Could you help clean? Stock shelves? Ship items? Those little things might allow staff to concentrate on the more important things on their minds.
Stay safe and healthy, friends. And as always, thanks for joining me for “happy hour”,
What am I missing? Since this is an ongoing situation, I expect more ideas to pop up. So please comment with other ways we can support local quilt shops, and I’ll update this list to include it!