As the economic repercussions of COVID-19 continue to rattle the Asheville small-business community, finding ways to offer support is more important than ever. For Ashevillians seeking to bolster independent businesses, these movements and resources can be a good starting point.
#AshevilleStrong encourages people to buy local gift cards from businesses around Asheville and Western North Carolina. Local restaurants, hotels, shops, salons, theaters and markets that are seeing a decline in visitors can get an immediate boost from gift-card sales. #AshevilleStrong’s website offers a list, updated daily, of the area businesses offering gift cards, so support can continue even while stores and restaurants stay shuttered or limited.
Restaurant Takeout in Asheville
One simple way to support the Asheville economy through the coronavirus epidemic is to continue patronizing hard-hit area restaurants by ordering meals for takeout and delivery. Many restaurants offer online ordering and payment, as well as curbside pickup, for a contactless experience. Asheville Independent Restaurants keeps an updated list of local restaurants offering take-out or delivery.
One Buncombe Fund
This fund – a centralized COVID-19 donation and relief center – has been launched by Buncombe County and the City of Asheville in conjunction with business leaders from the Asheville-Area Chamber of Commerce, Mountain BizWorks and the Land of Sky Regional Council. The mission of the fund is to provide bridge funding to area small businesses as well as to support the basic needs of individuals who have lost employment due to COVID-19. It is a secure and immediate way to donate to the response effort.
Finished goods, materials, manufacturing capability and support services are needed to combat COVID-19. SupplyConnector was started by a small group of outdoor industry professionals seeking a way to connect brands that were pivoting operations to help provide relief in the current crisis. This regional directory is designed to connect those who can supply materials and manufacture finished goods with essential providers who need them most. The site allows you to submit information to give or receive critical equipment (such as face coverings, shields, surgical masks and the like). Users can connect directly with one another.
There are many other ways to help out our local community as we continue with Stay Home and social distancing orders. Just a few others to explore are: United Way & Hands-On Asheville to donate goods and volunteer; Musician Relief Fund to support Asheville’s normally vibrant music scene as it experiences cancelled gigs, festivals and events; and Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund to address local farmers’ needs as they deal with a dive in customers and sales.