Shop local: Small businesses in Omaha still need help and support
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The coronavirus pandemic has affected businesses of all kinds, especially the small, locally-owned businesses that depend on community support. Because of COVID-19, many have been forced to lay off employees, reduce hours, or close altogether. Many more have adapted to keep revenue coming in.
One of those businesses is Spielbound Board Game Cafe located at 33rd and Harney streets. It’s the largest playable board game library in the country. Patrons can also buy local coffees and beers to enjoy while they hang out.
Coronavirus closed Spielbound’s doors in March, but they reopened in August with a new business model in place. While people are still allowed to sit down inside and play a board game or two, masks required, the staff at Spielbound completely revamped the website and shifted to selling more games online.
“We went from a place where everybody was hanging out and being social to moving our board game store online, we never did that before,” Spielbound Director Kaleb Michaud said.
In the name of safety and convenience, the business also added curbside and delivery options for customers. Michaud is counting on the community to keep the unique business from closing down. He says people passing through Omaha come to Spielbound just to see it for themselves.
“If we don’t make it through this, that won’t exist anymore,” said Michaud. “These games will go somewhere else, they’ll probably be sold and sent to other places around the country. It’s really one of the many treasures that we have here, Omaha has so many wonderful small businesses that are worth keeping around.”
Boyd Redinbaugh owns The Simple Man off Pacific in Country Side Village. It’s a retail store that carries men’s clothing, grooming products, gifts, and more. Redinbaugh says his hope is that the Coronavirus pandemic has shifted the focus back to small businesses.
“There’s a lot of businesses my size that haven’t made it this far, so we certainly feel blessed,” Redinbaugh said.
His store never closed down, but business slowed. So he, too, created a bigger online presence and experience for his customers, many of whom he knows by name, and added delivery and curbside pickup.
“I think these small businesses give people an opportunity for daily connection, daily interaction and you see that here,” said Redinbaugh. “As big businesses grow that’s what you lose. You gain convenience but you lose the personal connection. The vast majority of small businesses provide a customer service experience that just can’t be had at those larger businesses."
These are just two out of the hundreds, if not thousands, of small, locally-owned businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. And you can do your part to help them out.
Skip the big-box stores this year and spend local dollars at local businesses. They need your support. Plus, when you shop local you’re also supporting the local economy.
For these small businesses, a little bit of help can go a long way.
“If you know someone who owns a small business, or there’s a small business you’ve been wanting to patronize, now is the time,” said Redinbaugh.
A good opportunity to give back to local businesses is Nov. 28: Small Business Saturday. That’s when you can get good deals and discounts at your participating local stores.
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