Top News

How you can support local businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador this summer

Shops and restaurants may look a bit different this summer, but local businesses need our support now more than ever. - Photo 123rf
Shops and restaurants may look a bit different this summer, but local businesses need our support now more than ever. - Photo 123rf

It was a difficult spring for everyone, and many small business owners across Newfoundland and Labrador were forced to lay off employees, make drastic changes and shut down temporarily.

“We’ve just come through unprecedented times in St. John’s. We had a trying winter capped off with the ultimate Snowmageddon, and then just when we’re started to hope for better things, we joined the rest of the world in being affected by COVID-19,” says Gaylynne Gulliver, who manages marketing and special events with the Downtown St. John’s Business Commission.

“The silver lining of COVID-19 is that people are realizing the importance of supporting local, more than ever before — because if they don’t, those businesses won’t always be there.”

From making important decisions about where to eat to exploring places you may not normally go, here are a few easy ways to safely support local businesses this summer across Newfoundland and Labrador, so we can be sure those businesses are still around after the pandemic is over.

Eat in a restaurant.

Back in March, April and May, we dreamed about restaurant meals — ahh, the luxury of eating food we didn’t prepare ourselves! — and now they’re open and ready to serve us.

Locally-owned restaurants were often hit hard during the prolonged closure, as they don’t have a corporate helping hand like the chains do. Remember, you’re not only supporting the owners of a locally-owned restaurant — you’re supporting its servers, cooks, chefs, managers, cleaners, suppliers and everyone else who benefits from you enjoying a meal there.

“Small businesses are net job creators and by supporting them, we’re supporting our economy in so many ways,” says Gulliver. “Whenever you can, eat in our local restaurants or have a pint at one of the many micro-brew pubs. Eat, drink and be merry!”

Call ahead to see if they have special rules about wearing a mask or making a reservation. Remember that some establishments will only have room for fewer guests, so be patient. Many restaurants have opened additional patio spaces, too.

Order take-out or delivery.

Many people were nervous for a long time about the risk of eating anything they hadn’t prepared themselves, after scrubbing down their groceries. While restaurants have reopened and put protective measures in place to protect diners, not everyone is ready to hurry back in. If that’s you, no judgement! Maybe consider supporting a favourite local restaurant with a take-out or delivery order instead — they’ll very much appreciate your business!

Shop locally.

Some local shops have already closed as a result of the pandemic, and you don’t want your favourite ones to be next. Show your support by making a purchase locally instead of spending your dollars in a big-box store or on Amazon. If you don’t feel comfortable going inside a store, place an order in their online shop or give them a call to arrange a curbside pick-up.

St. John’s has the highest concentration of locally owned and operated businesses in the province, and Gulliver says they’re a crucial part of the economy.

“The beautiful thing about supporting local business is that a lot more stays in the local economy than if you purchase something from a big chain,” says Gulliver. “When you support a small business, you’re supporting a friend or neighbour as well as our local economy. A rising tide will float all boats.”

Be a tourist close to home.

Think of your local tourist hot-spots, and see if there’s a way you can throw them a little support during these strange times. Have you always wanted to go on a guided tour of a specific area, but never made the time for it? What about visiting a locally-owned tourist attraction, gift shop or entertainment hub? Even if it’s somewhere you’ve been before, you’ll find something new to appreciate — and you’ll be doing a good deed.

“This is truly a great time to get out, explore your own province and meet the people who have been delivering world class tourism experiences to visitors for so long and who are fiercely proud of their little corner of this province,” says Gillian Marx with Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. “It can only bring more pride to a proud people.”

Book an overnight visit.

Spend the day exploring and cap it off by staying overnight in a hotel, cottage or B&B — even if you live close enough to drive home and sleep in your own bed. Think of all the tourists that would normally be supporting the accommodations sector, and do what you can to help out. Marx says the Seaglass B&B in New Perlican is offering a two-night package that includes beachcombing and a stained glass experience.

Have an adventure.

The must-do activities are often crowded with tourists, so this is your chance to try something new without waiting in a long line or needing to book well in advance. With 29,000 km of coastline to explore, you can take a head onto the water to look for whales or admire the icebergs, take a guided kayak tour or dive below the surface to see 500-year-old shipwrecks.

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories