Small business owners are doing all they can to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic and they’re relying on loyal customers to help get them through.
At Foodies' two neighborhood market locations in Boston, employees aren't accustomed to receiving tips, but lately they're getting them.
"Customers obviously have been very appreciative for us being open," said Foodies owner Victor Lyon. "Many have been handing cashiers and employees tips as a thank you for us being open, which has been great, to see all the appreciation."
An expert on tipping says, if you're able, now is the time to be generous.
"The delivery people who are coming to your door, you want to tip them as generously as you ever tipped, ever. Maybe double that," said Rosanne Thomas of Protocol Advisors, Inc. "They're really kind of risking their lives if you think about it, so tip them as well as you possibly can."
And if you have the means, tip when you pick up a take-out order. Also, consider continuing to pay for your regular services even if they are temporarily unavailable.
"Your cleaning lady, maybe a nanny or people who don't come to your house normally, your hairdresser, manicurist," Thomas said. "They need help now if you can possibly continue to pay them, the way you have all along, maybe on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis. Every little bit would help."
If you can't help monetarily right now, you can still support your favorite small businesses by sharing their social media posts and offerings, or even writing a review and recommending them to others. Even a "thank you" goes a long way.
"It gives them a lot of pride in what they're doing, that they are essential workers during this period," Lyon said. "It gives them a new appreciation for what they do and makes them feel good about themselves and everything else, so it’s great."
Making a commitment to shop locally right now will make a difference for businesses in your community. Before you order online, see if you can find the same item at a local retailer or buy a gift card from a local business that you can use later.