As the city and its small neighborhood businesses try to get back to normal in the waning months of this pandemic, San Francisco Mayor London Breed is urging residents to feed on retail chains and not patronize local businesses until May.
Breed notes that the city has provided some relief to small businesses with $ 75 million in grants, loans, and fee waivers. “”
She says she has tried to lead by example since the beginning of the pandemic. “I tried harder to go to local businesses, to my local hardware store, to Gus’s Market,” she says. But today she’ll announce the 30-Day Small Business Challenge in San Francisco to encourage all residents of the city to take a break from the conveniences of Amazon, Safeway, and big box retailers and start their cash on May 1st Place to issue.
This can be a challenge when it comes to a few things – who can claim they still have a local corner pharmacy in their neighborhood? (I know there are a handful out there and you should go to them, including the reliable Rexall Sunset Pharmacy and Parnassus Heights Pharmacy.)
According to the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker – a joint project by the Universities of Harvard and Brown together with the Gates Foundation – sales of small businesses have fallen by a third nationwide since January 2020. And this affects low-wage workers who have been laid off as a result.
The tracker also found that San Francisco was one of the worst cities in America for small business health. Around 50% have been temporarily or permanently closed since the beginning of 2020.
The newly appointed SFMTA board member and mission entrepreneur Manny Yekutiel of Manny’s fame is credited with the idea for the 30 Day Challenge. As he tells the Chronicle, his company has lost about 80% of its sales in the last year, and he says, “I think the Franciscans realize that we need to support them financially if they want these small businesses to survive.”
In addition to choosing your local corner or local grocery store for your daily needs – as opposed to Amazon-owned Safeway or Whole Foods – you should also think about how you consume other products and groceries. Supporting local small businesses means being a little more aware that you are spending all your money, and it often means spending a little more on things too.
Consumer laziness is also a killer for small businesses. As SFist noted several times over the past year, ordering deliveries at local restaurants doesn’t help as much as calling an order and picking it up yourself – which lowers the fees for delivering delivery apps like DoorDash. And if you don’t know exactly who you’re ordering from, you could give money to former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens or another Ghost Kitchen startup and use it to pull revenue from a neighborhood restaurant that fought for a year has to stay alive.
So next time you need a tool or a lightbulb, go to Cliff’s Variety or Cole Hardware and stop giving Jeff Bezos more of your dollars. Use the Shop & Dine in the 49 website, launched by the city before the holiday season, to find local businesses to patronize. And extend this challenge beyond the month of May if you can – see it as a good reason to return to the world after your vaccination.
Once the pandemic is over, you’ll be glad you did something to keep your neighborhood from turning into a total ghost town.
(You can also help spread the word by using the hashtag #SmallBizChallenge on social media. Apparently there are some prizes going on for people who tag their favorite businesses. For more information on the 30 Day Challenge, please click here.)