With the holiday season right around the corner, Wayne County officials want the community to think local and shop local to support mom-and-pop businesses during this trying time for many establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To kick start this commercial push, the Economic Development Department announced a new initiative to highlight and promote small and independent retailers during a virtual media advisory Nov. 11.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for small and independent retailers this year,” said Assistant County Executive Khalil Rahal in a county press release. “Our Shop Small program aims to support them and help residents safely explore holiday shopping opportunities in their communities.”
Businesses may sign up to be a part of the Shop Small campaign on WayneCounty.com also through bit.ly/ShopWayneCounty. Once a business joins, their address, hours, and other pertinent information including special promotions and contact information will be included on a sharable public database available on the County website and social media channels, according to the release.
“It’s understandable that people may do more holiday shopping online this season, and we want to help them do that with local Wayne County businesses. The Shop Small database will allow local consumers to safely shop businesses in their communities,” said Rahal in the release. “We know local businesses are more likely to employ local residents and reinvest their profits locally. By supporting our Shop Small businesses, residents can support our communities.”
Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans initiated helping small businesses make it through the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopen, with a special focus on assisting businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. Using CARES Act funds, Wayne County has distributed $50 million in grants to local businesses as well as distributed personal protection equipment and streamlining regulations to allow businesses to reopen safely, Rahal added.
The listing is meant for small businesses who depends in particular on holiday shopping like: retailers, entertainment, restaurants, cafes, salons, spas, and other gift-oriented businesses, according to the release.
Businesses will be listed on this website on or after Nov. 18 and through the holiday season.
Over 100 businesses are already registered.
Rahal said during the media advisory that small businesses “need all the help” they can get and the free service will target some of those businesses in the 43 diverse county districts, which he said all provide a “different local flavor” when it comes to shopping.
“And it doesn’t just have to be for the holidays,” Rahal added at the media advisory. “if folks are interested in different food options, we all know there are different unique foods [throughout our county].”
Rahal also said that this was the brainchild of the county in collaboration with 50 other countywide organizations [a majority of which are local chambers of commerce]. The organizations and county officials regularly have Zoom calls to discuss small business-related initiatives and this idea sprouted from that.
“The door is open for anybody that needs help,” Rahal said, adding that many times the collective group discusses which businesses have a huge need or need help with certain areas.
All business submissions will be reviewed by Wayne County team before posting.
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