DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I go outside in my neighborhood and a little bit beyond, I see more businesses shutting down. It is so depressing. I realize it’s been almost a year since COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. I have been working from home ever since, and I have been afraid to do much of anything. But I do try to spend a few dollars here and there to help out the local shops. I feel so sad. I guess my little sandwich purchase or occasional trip to the dry cleaners hasn’t been enough to keep these stores open. Obviously, I know they need more than me, but I see whole blocks of businesses shut down. I’m so worried about what is going to happen. Is there anything more that I can do to help? I see a few establishments hanging on, but I can only spend so much. Is this a lost cause? -- Helping My Neighbors
DEAR HELPING MY NEIGHBORS: I, too, watch with horror as blocks and blocks of businesses are shut down where I live in New York City. It is frightening. While you, as an individual, may feel that you can’t make a difference, don’t believe that. Just as each vote counts in an election, each purchase counts toward keeping small (and large) businesses open. To make a bigger impact, reach out to your neighbors and friends, and suggest that all of you make a concerted effort to support local businesses with your consistent patronage.
You can go a step further and speak to your favorite businesses to find out how they are doing. If you find that some are in serious, immediate jeopardy of closing, you can rally your friends to help them stay afloat. While we cannot save all businesses, it may be possible to keep some alive. Hopefully there will be an additional stimulus package soon that will specifically support the thousands of small businesses that are currently in jeopardy.