6 ways to support small businesses right now
You don’t have to leave your home to make a difference
Since the spread of the novel coronavirus, local health authorities are encouraging everyone to avoid large groups and non-essential outings for the coming weeks. While crucial to staying healthy, social-distancing makes it tough to get a bouquet from your local florist or pick up a treat from the bakery around the corner.
Thankfully, we have the internet.
While supporting the latest government mandates for businesses to either close or consolidate their services, hundreds of San Diego studios, artists, boutiques, coffee shops, personal trainers, and florists are taking their offerings online. So you can still rep your weekend brewery or participate in your Wednesday night yoga class from the comfort of your living room.
We talked with a couple of small business owners about ways we can all become top-notch virtual patrons.
1. Buy some merch.
What better way to show some love to your favorite neighborhood spot than by buying some of their merchandise? Many businesses, like Young Hickory in North Park, the Casbah in Little Italy and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, are selling t-shirts, hats and bags online to help fund their storefronts while everyone stays safe at home. Specialty boutiques like SoulSpark Candles, CLAY + CRAFT and clothe+arrow are offering free shipping. Wild At Heart Boutique is also offering a daily deal in addition to free shipping.
Meg Blancato, co-owner of Native Poppy in Solana Beach and South Park said the flower shop also sells in-house merchandise—like cozy sweatshirts and candles—that can be purchased online and shipped nationally. “If you have the financial means, of course ordering online or delivery really helps, she says. “But if you can’t, the power of social media also helps. Putting up your own list of businesses you support might point someone that follows you in our direction. The support we’ve received online has been amazing, and we are so moved by it.”
Native Poppy is also offering in-store pick-up (albeit outside the front door to encourage social distancing) and flower delivery.
2. Get a gift card for future shopping.
Support your favorite bars, breweries and boutiques by purchasing a gift card. Whether it’s for you or a friend in need of a sweet pick-me-up, many businesses, like Small Bar SD in University Heights, are offering online gift cards to help fund their payroll and other expenses.
3. Take a virtual class.
Your calendar can keep all your regular self-care appointments thanks to businesses like Saffron & Sage in Little Italy. The remainder of March events will be held virtually through Zoom or FaceTime, including a monthly book club, workshops, all consultations, and even a Virtual Solitude Retreat. Every morning at 10 a.m., instructors will guide you through a live series of healing practices that are recorded so you can watch them again at any time.
And to do their part in keeping people healthy, all of Saffron and Sage’s immunity-boosting herbal formulas, plant-based prescriptions, probiotics, tinctures and flower essences are available for curbside pick-up or as well as home shipping. You can order online or by texting or calling (619) 933-2340.
If you’re looking to get your sweat on, Sojourn Healing Collective is streaming all of its yoga classes online, and Sweat in SD is hosting fitness classes every day on Instagram Live. The Crafter’s Box is also offering 50% off of their digital products and online classes that you can stream at home using code “video50.”
4. Support your local markets.
Buy your essential items at one of the many local, family-owned markets in San Diego. Baron’s Market in Ocean Beach is open exclusively for customers ages 65 and older from 9-10 a.m. and to the rest of the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Gelson’s Market in La Jolla is adding the same rule between 7-8 a.m.
5. Order your favorite takeout.
Many local restaurants, bakeries, and even bars are offering takeout, delivery, and curbside services. We compiled a list of some fun ones we’ve seen, but please double-check with the business first before ordering:
- Two Seven Eight in Hillcrest is offering take-home brunch March 21-22. The cost is $20 for a bottle of champagne and orange juice with any brunch entrée until supplies are out. Call 619-278-0080 to order.
- Fernside Cocktails in South Park is offering to-go booze nightly from 5-10 p.m.: the menu features wine, growler fills and bottled cocktails. Food items are also available. Call 619-255-9591 to place an order.
- Blackmarket Bakery in North Park is offering rolls of cookie dough for pick-up only. Each roll is $15-$20 depending on the flavor and will make either six full-sized cookies or a baker’s dozen of mini cookies. Call 619-641-0081 for more info.
- Donna Jean restaurant downtown is offering a three-course meal for takeout from 12-9 p.m. every day for $35. You get a Caesar salad, an entrée and a dessert. There are options for pizza, starters and family-sized meals as well. Call 619-299-5500 to order.
- Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream in Encinitas if offering pints, quarts and shakes for delivery and curb-side pickup. Call 760-230-6948 to order.
- Karina’s Mexican Seafood Cuisine is open for dine-out orders at their Otay Ranch Town Center, Bonita and Mission Hills locations. Visit karinasseafood.com for more information.
- Pho Ca Dao is offering their full menu for curbside pickup and free delivery through Doordash at their Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Mission Valley locations. Visit phocadaogrill.com for more information.
- 619 Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room in North Park is offering 20% off any take-out orders directly from the restaurant as well as to-go bottles of vodka for $19. Visit 619spirits.com to order online.
- Madison on Park in University Heights is offering takeout from 5:30-9 p.m. Call 619 269-6566 to order.
- The Gluten Free Baking Co. in North Park is offering their full menu for takeout as well as a community supported bakery box where people can create boxes of their favorite allergy-free goodies for pick-up. Orders need to be placed the day before and can be made by calling 858-270-9863.
- Mustangs & Burros in La Jolla is offering a to-go menu as well as a 20% off voucher to use once dine-in operations resume. Call 844-201-9224 to order.
- Ranch 45 in Solana Beach is offering curbside pickup and delivery through Doordash, Grubhub and Postmates as well as expanding its grocery offerings by adding eggs, honey, butter and produce. Call 858-461-0092 to order.
- One Paseo in Carmel Valley is offering to-go options, meal kits and grocery items including meat, seafood, dairy and shelf stable items from its many tenants that are remaining open. Call 858-523-2298 for more information.
- Saint Archer’s Miramar and Leucadia locations are offering to-go beers daily from 3-7 p.m., and its San Diego location still has an array of six-packs available for pickup. Visit saintarcherbrewery.com for more information.
6. Promote some positivity.
Stefanie Bales of Stephanie Bales Fine Art in Little Italy understands that purchasing a new painting isn’t at the top of most peoples’ minds right now. “I’m not trying to sell my art to people who are just trying to buy food,” she said. Even though she has products for sale on her website, she said the best thing people can do is support in sharing.
“It’s less about trying to sell and more about showcasing the work we’re doing. Increase visibility. Something people could easily do to support their favorite businesses is write a Google, Yelp, or Facebook review.”
Personally, Bales is shifting her perspective to use this time to do what she does best: create.
“Typically, I’m a one-woman show. I run all parts of my business, so I don’t have time to create and explore. I have a to-do list from 2017—so I’m looking forward to checking those things off.”
In addition to sharing what your favorite local artists are up to on social media, Bales says that if you have the means, support them in any way you can. “If there was a birthday or a baby shower you were supposed to attend, sending flowers or a painting would be a great gesture.”
Here are what some other local businesses are doing:
- Angela Garzon, a local brand director and photographer, created a free online mobile lightroom tutorial for people to learn how to edit their photos better.
- Jennifer Rosson, a San Diego stylist, is hosting an online closet auditing class.
- Cecelia Church of Vocabulary Boutique in Little Italy is offering personalized shopping via phone, or evening in-person private appointments.
- Stylist Conni Jespersen of Art In The Find is offering virtual styling sessions as well as free tips and tricks on Instagram.
If you own or know of a small San Diego business that’s uniquely offering its services right now, please email our web editor Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.