Whether you venture out to Outremont for a bagel or the Plateau for vintage shopping, local businesses define a street, a community, and a city, which is especially true in Montreal. Local businesses are the ones we miss when we leave our city, the ones we take people to when they visit, the ones we recommend to travelers, and the ones we will tell stories about if they were to shut down. This year, businesses have been through a lot. Some have temporarily closed and reopened too many times to count, while others have closed their doors permanently. If you have a favorite local restaurant, cafe, or shop of any kind that you can’t wait to visit once the pandemic is over, here are some things you can do to support them now to ensure they will still be there when things go back to normal.
1. Shop Local Whenever Possible
Although we cannot go out and treat ourselves as we would have before the pandemic, we still have many essential, unavoidable purchases to make this winter, such as groceries or holiday gifts. Implementing this step can be as simple as making a shift to shop for your groceries at a small-scale, local grocery store that needs customers more than ever right now, rather than the large national chains.
2. Buy Gifts From Local Businesses
The winter gift-giving season is when we can show our appreciation for someone we love, so why not kill two birds with one stone and show appreciation for someone and some local Montreal business that you love at the same time. So long as you know what gift you have in mind, shopping online from local brands is truly just as easy as purchasing from Amazon. The only difference between the two being that buying a present from a local Montreal business will make the day for both your gift’s recipient and the business’s owner.
3. Order from Local Restaurants
Montreal is renowned for its extensive, rich, delicious cuisine, and we want to keep it that way. To keep the Montreal foodie scene alive for when this pandemic finally ends, try and order from local restaurants, even if you really are craving a McDonald’s burger. If you decide to order from a small, local restaurant, look online at the restaurant’s website before getting onto your large-scale, mobile food delivery service. Apps such as UberEats and DoorDash take a decent chunk away from restaurants that are already struggling enough as it is, and some apps have actually increased that percentage during the pandemic.
4. Use Social Media to Promote Local Businesses
Although most Canadians are on tight budgets this winter, there are still many ways to support our favorite Montreal businesses this winter, completely free of charge. An action as small as leaving a positive google review, following a brand’s Twitter page, shouting out a company on your Facebook, or entering a business’s Instagram giveaway can go a long way in supporting a company.
5. BUY A GIFT CARD OR MERCH
When you a buy gift card the business receives the funds now and you have the opportunity to treat yourself later when things get back to normal. Even if you aren’t buying anything else because you’re stuck at home, you can give your local shops or favorite restaurant a vote of confidence by spending even $25 on a gift card to use later. Also, many attractions, hotels, and restaurants have online gift shops. Buy yourself a mug, T-shirt, etc. to show your support! If there was ever a time to show support for your neighbors and local businesses, it is now. Here is a list of businesses offering gift cards and certificates.