Photography by @jacobduyane

The coronavirus has impacted nearly every facet of our lives. In a time where we’re all practicing social distancing, there are still things that we can do to support each other. One of the easiest and most important things we can do is support our local small businesses, who are the lifeblood of our community.  

Local small businesses will feel a disproportionate impact due to lost business as people stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Luckily, there are many things we can do that will lessen the burden and help our favorite retailers, restaurants, and attractions (which employ our friends, neighbors, and relatives) to weather the storm. Here are just a few ideas: 

Restaurants

  • Order takeout – Restaurants typically run on very small margins, so every little bit helps. Although Iowa restaurants and bars are now closed for dine-in service, takeout, drive-through, and delivery services are still allowed. So your options are virtually unlimited! Ordering ahead reduces the wait and limits your exposure. Providing a customary (or higher!) tip with the bill also helps ease the burden on the waitstaff. Some foods (think pasta, lasagna) can be ordered in bulk and frozen for later. 

  • Delivery – Don’t want to venture out? Try delivery using services like Grubhub*, Door DashPostmates or Uber Eats. While you’ll find plenty of fast food and chain options, opt for a local restaurant. You may pay a little more for a delivery charge, but you’re saving money by not dining in or purchasing expensive drinks. *To better support local restaurants, Grubhub has suspended its commission fees from independent restaurants. 

  • Gift cards – Give the tastiest gift of all, the gift of food! This will put cash in the wallet of your favorite restaurant and allow you to enjoy it later when you have more of an appetite.  

  • Growlers to go – Purchasing directly from your favorite brewery, winery or distillery. Simply call ahead, please your order, and many establishments are offering curbside pickup!  

Shopping 

  • Buy local – Avoid the mad rush on toilet paper at the grocery store and make your way to the produce section and stock up on local produce. Be cognizant and try to purchase any locally made products you can…from salsas and sauces, to popcorn and store-made baked goods.  

    Shop online – Shop at your favorite local retailer if they offer online shopping. If they don’t, consider buying a gift card to use later. This could be the earliest you’ve ever gotten your holiday shopping done.  

    Write a review – Consider writing a nice online review (Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook) of your favorite business to help increase their online and social media presence.  

    Follow online – Make sure you follow all your favorite retailers (and restaurants, bars, breweries and venues) online. They will be an invaluable source of info and can offer ways that you can support them that we may not have even considered.  

Attractions and Performing Arts

  • Season passes – While attractions remain closed for in the short-term, many offer season passes so that you can enjoy them later on.  

  • Donate – Most of our most cherished cultural and arts venues, from the Des Moines Performing Arts and Des Moines Metro Opera, to Hoyt Sherman and the Des Moines Community Playhouse, offer ways to get involved through donations. Consider donating to your favorite arts organization (or all of them) to keep Greater Des Moines artsy.  

And finally, drop your favorite businesses a note and let them know that you’re thinking about them and ask how you can help. Kindness counts. And so does your support. Stay safe and support local! #CATCHdsmlocal