By Joseph Staples // SWNS
A new study has found half of Americans have witnessed their favorite local businesses close down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey of 2,000 general population Americans found 68% of respondents personally know a local business owner who was impacted by the pandemic. The most impacted businesses, they said, included cafes (62%), retail shops (58%), gaming shops (55%) and book stores (54%).
While a majority (71%) want to see small businesses in their community thrive, nearly two-thirds (62%) have witnessed their favorite local businesses struggle to pay rent or pay employees.
On average, respondents can name two locally-owned businesses in their community that were rejected from receiving a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grant.
Commissioned by Templeton Distillery and conducted by OnePoll, the study also found the pandemic has had a major impact on how often 65% of people shop locally.
Three in five (63%) of those surveyed said they don’t mind paying more than retail value for a product if they’re getting it from a local business. Since the pandemic began, 66% have been ordering and shopping more frequently from local businesses.
Yet their reasoning for shopping local isn’t purely tied to the pandemic. Forty-nine percent of local shoppers do so because they genuinely believe locally-made products have better quality. Other reasons include knowing the business owner (47%) and knowing the employees (45%).
Nearly seven in 10 (69%) believe their community would never be the same without small businesses.
In order to help keep local businesses afloat, 48% of people said they donate an average $92 to their favorite shops and business owners.
"Small businesses are the backbone of towns and cities around the country," said Templeton Distillery Co-founder Keith Kerkhoff. “Templeton, Iowa is one such small town. With just over 300 people, the town continues to be ignited by the spark of simple business ideas that can last for more than 100 years. We want to celebrate the legacy of local businesses everywhere that are just as ignited, while also looking ahead to the exciting future as these businesses bounce back."
Over half (53%) of Americans have seriously thought about how they can help local businesses post-pandemic, including increased tipping.
Fifty-eight percent of people said they tip more for food services now than they did before the pandemic, and 88% said they plan to continue tipping more after the pandemic comes to an end.
Other ways people are considering to help include donating to a business’ grassroots fundraiser (53%), volunteer work with the business to maintain it (49%) and exclusively shopping local (48%).
More than half (55%) said they have sworn off ever going to a big chain store again because of the impact the pandemic has had on local and small businesses.
“It is incredibly important right now to give back to the small businesses in our communities, especially after all they have been through during the pandemic," added Kerkhoff. “We could not think of a better way to honor our heritage than by supporting these businesses with our Templeton Distillery Entrepreneur’s Grant program."
WHY ARE AMERICANS SHOPPING LOCAL MORE?
- The products are better quality 49%
- I like/know the business owner 47%
- I know people who work at the business 45%
- I like their products 44%
- It's more convenient for me 41%
- They're a staple of the neighborhood 24%