The last week has brought more challenges than I think our community has ever seen. The COVID-19 virus came and blew up our lives so much more than many of us could have ever imagined. I’ll be the first to admit that I was definitely not prepared for it – not at home, and definitely not at the office.
The governor of Iowa and many other governors across the country have begun to close and place some restrictions on certain businesses. Some have still been able to operate (minimally), while others were quite literally shut down, with very short notice. Some have closed to protect themselves & their customers from this virus - or taken steps to promote social distancing.
If you drove down Main Street Osage this morning like I did – I’m guessing you noticed what I did. Lots of closed signs, not many cars – a sign of what could be our new normal if we do not do all we can to lift up our local businesses. What if some of these businesses never reopen? What if they simply cannot recover? These are realities we need to face: picture your favorite business in our community - and now picture it boarded up and shuttered. That's a reality for a LOT of communities - we cannot let it be ours.
These business owners have chosen to invest in our community: they’ve invested in the building for their business; they pay property taxes on those buildings which help fund our community’s infrastructure; they are the first ones asked (and typically the first ones to oblige) for fundraisers for schools & churches, proms, fairs & festivals, benefits, etc. – and they do this because they love doing business in our community. They do it when business is not always so great (which is a lot nowadays). They also invest in advertising when they can – which helps to drive more outside traffic to the community (not just their business), resulting in an even bigger impact on our local economy.
By now you are all probably wondering – well if businesses are closed, what are we supposed to do to support them? I am SO glad you asked! (You probably knew I’d get there eventually, right?) Well, some small things (that include social distancing) would include showing some love on the business pages for some of our area businesses. Give one of their posts a SHARE – it’s worth so much (much more than a like)! You can also ask the business owner directly how you can support them right now. If you pay a monthly membership (i.e. gym / fitness center)– continue to pay it even if they are closed. Last but not least, support our area restaurants – many are working hard to provide carryout and delivery services when they are able.
Our board has been working on several ways to help these businesses during this time – we worked hard to create a dedicated community page where people can get information on business closings, new business offerings and other pertinent updates.
We hope to have a new targeted campaign live soon – be watching our Facebook page for updates over the next day or so. I encourage you all to partake and do what you can (no matter big or small) to help our small businesses. They truly ARE the backbone to our communities.
We’re not sure what is going to happen next, if/when more closings and/or restrictions are coming, among other things. What I do know – deep in my soul - is that our community rallies. We rally around each other; we pick each other up when we are down – and we will most certainly get through this. I hope you’ll join me in pledging to support all of our local businesses now – because they need it now more than ever.