KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Small businesses are feeling the pressure of the pandemic.
Shutdowns, decreased foot traffic and gaps in federal aid are just a few of the factors leading to closures all over the country.
According to a recent study from Yelp, roughly 100,000 small businesses on its platform have closed their doors permanently since April.
Meanwhile, a professor at George Washington University has estimated the true number is more than 400,000.
"We know that businesses of color, particularly Black-owned businesses, are being pounded by the pandemic, and nearly half will close if they don't receive some type of federal aid," Sarah Mote, marketing director for KCSourceLink, said.
The 41 Action News I-Team gathered tips from KCSourceLink , which connects small businesses in the area with vital resources, as well as the Better Business Bureau for ways to support small businesses during a pandemic holiday season.
Take a Virtual Class
Doing a downward-facing dog in-person isn't an option for everyone right now.
"I just think that some people still aren't comfortable coming back into the studio space with other people," Maria Murphy, owner of Yoga Patch, said.
That's why Yoga Patch is continuing to offer virtual classes.
"I think a lot of people feel alone right now, and so to continue to be a part of a community or a space that they're used to is very important," she added.
Taking a virtual class or purchasing a class package for a loved one is a great way to continue supporting a gym or studio during the pandemic.
Set Aside a Percentage of Holiday Shopping for Local Businesses
Create a plan to dedicate a certain percentage of your holiday spending toward small businesses.
KCSourceLink has an online directory of small businesses, as well as links to Black-owned business directories.
For those comfortable shopping in-person, one option is to attend the Strawberry Swing's Holiday Market at Union Station, a ticketed outdoor event where local artisans and makers are selling their items.
Another idea is to search for Kansas City businesses on Etsy. After typing in the item you're looking for, there's an option to filter the shops by location.
Share on Social Media
Not everyone has extra money to spend this holiday season. The good news is there are free ways to bolster local shops, restaurants and retailers.
"Go on social media, find your favorite shops, like their stuff, comment on their stuff, share their stuff. Do anything you can to get them into that social media algorithm so they get more exposure," Mote of KCSourceLink said.
Be sure to include #shoplocalkc on posts.
Leave a Review
It's also a great time to leave that review you've been meaning to write.
"Seventy-two percent of shoppers are more likely to buy something from someplace where they see a positive review," Mote said.
If you paid in advance for an event, class or service, the BBB says taking a credit for the future instead of asking for a refund can help small businesses.
Also consider buying gift cards from your favorite shops and restaurants.
The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.
Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.
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