When COVID-19 prompted Chris Munro to close her Downtown Cornwall shop in mid-March, she was filled with uncertainty and fear – both for herself and her neighbours.
The pandemic brought on challenges no one could foresee. For small business owners like Munro, the affable owner and operator of Life’s Little Pleasures, it posed a direct threat to the business that she poured her heart and soul into for years.
Gradually, the uncertainty and panic was replaced by innovation and resiliency. Like many other merchants, Munro pivoted and began selling items online with electronic payment and contact-free delivery.
“I’ve seen great community support and even some new faces. The message over and over is that they want to buy local,” Munro said. “It suddenly feels like a step back in time, where you truly understood that when you bought from your local shop or business, you knew you were helping support an actual family.”
The drive to support local has taken on even greater importance in light of COVID-19, and for good reason. The Cornwall area is full of unique, beloved small businesses, be it retail shops, restaurants, tourism businesses or other services. It’s part of what makes our community so great, and that community support is crucial to helping these businesses weather the storm.
Beyond making a purchase or buying a gift card for future use, there are many other ways to support local. Consider increasing your tip at your favourite restaurant. Think about a local business you can call for those everyday items rather than ordering online. Book an appointment now at your favourite salon or spa. Write a positive online review for your favourite business on Facebook, TripAdvisor or Google. Show some virtual love to your favourite businesses by liking, sharing and commenting on their Facebook and Instagram posts.
It’s also a perfect time to discover some new businesses. The Shop Cornwall and Area website
(www.shopcornwallandarea.ca) is a great place to start exploring!
Emergency loan program
In its own show of support for local businesses, City Council recently approved the establishment of the Cornwall Small Business Emergency Support Loan Program. The program will provide eligible small business owners with a loan in two parts – $2,500 in immediate emergency support and a further $2,500 to help a business transition to a more versatile business model.
Intake for the program closes on Friday and full details can be found at www.ChooseCornwall.ca.