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This week’s edition!

Seven ways to support Androscoggin businesses

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By Kayt Myers

The temporary shutdown of many local businesses and the order for restaurants and bars to close has left many of us asking how we can best support small businesses during this crisis. If you can financially do so, please consider going out of your way to support locally owned Androscoggin County businesses and organizations right now. Here are seven ideas on how to do that:

1. Order takeout

Bars and restaurants have been ordered closed, but many are finding ways to offer takeout. Some are even offering delivery services for the first time. Call your favorite local restaurants or visit their social media pages to find out what alternatives they’re offering customers. 

2. Change your habits

You might only grocery shop at big box stores typically. Those large businesses have more resources to help employees and stay in business throughout this crisis. Instead, think about shopping at places locally owned and operated. You may even find some of those businesses are better stocked in much sought-after items.

3. Plan ahead

Have a birthday party or other gathering to plan for later this year? Reserve a location or entertainer now. That support — and a down payment — will give small business owners a boost during a scary time for them. 

4. Adopt a shelter pet or foster

You likely find yourself with a little more time on your hands right now and are hopefully home a whole lot more — along with other members of your family. It’s the perfect time to think about adopting a shelter pet. Not only will you have more time and extra hands for feeding, house training, and behavior training but you will be helping our local shelters by offering a home for an animal in need. Many shelters have limited hours or are closed — but still adopting by appointment. If you are not in a position to adopt, consider fostering or donating items that shelters need instead. 

5. Buy gift certificates

Almost any business will allow you to buy a gift certificate for later use. Most have online options. That will give them the cash they can use now to pay bills and employees, and you can look forward to spending it when restrictions have lifted. Gift certificates aren’t just for restaurants — think about businesses ranging from hair salons to doggy daycares. 

6. Don’t ask for your money back

Extracurriculars canceled? Gyms closed? Daycare shuttered? Consider asking for makeup classes or time rather than asking for your money back. They need every penny you can afford to offer right now to stay solvent and pay employees.

7. Donate to local food banks

Food banks are crucial to helping families suffering financially during this crisis — like laid off restaurant workers, retail employees, and others. You can often make cash donations online or call ahead to arrange a drop off donation.

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