IDAHO — Many small businesses are continuing to recover from the economic hardship that was brought on by COVID-19 over the past year. To help these owners, the Support Local Gems initiative has been relaunched.
This initiative started last year as a means to encourage people to shop at locally owned businesses throughout the pandemic. Twin Falls is a city that relies on local business since it helps drive the economy and officials announced on Monday they would be joining the relaunch of Support Local Gems.
“There were certain industries in particular that really took a hard hit during 2020," said Shawn Barigar. "Hospitality, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and certainly those small mom and pop retailers that had to be closed for a period of time last year.”
As always, in-store purchases are the most valuable and concrete way for people to show their support. However, there are still other ways to lend a helping hand such as buying a gift card or even something as simple as leaving a Yelp review.
Kindsey Taylor, the owner of Brass Monkey said, “Supporting can be sharing a post on social media, or making your own post about, Hey have you checked this business out? Because word of mouth is the best thing for a business.”
Although there were businesses that did benefit from this initiative in its first year, others who maybe weren't as fortunate are remaining hopeful that they will witness a greater response this time around.
“Even though they were really trying to support small business last year, there was so much other stuff going on that it maybe fell a little short. Now that we’re kind of back running and a lot of small businesses are back and up and going it will be more beneficial and hopefully it will get to a broader audience for sure,” said Taylor.
Now that the number of vaccinated people is increasing and COVID-19 restrictions are loosening, officials and owners alike are encouraging people to shop locally.
“Get out. Make that local support. Have those opportunities to visit with folks, spend your dollars, and make the economy go well,” said Barigar.
The majority of this week is being used to try and spread the word about Support Local Gems with May 21 serving as the main day for people to show their support.