Shop Local: Small Businesses Need it
Businesses across the country continue to feel the economic stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It has disrupted the way of American life and forced citizens into their homes, legally barred from leaving the house for needless reasons. This is forcing many small businesses to close either temporarily or permanently, though Falls County has been fortunate enough to see little of that.
Marlin has seen food trucks coming and going for years now. This has not ceased during the current state of affairs, as Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on March 29 that allows restaurants to operate under take-out, drive through, or delivery. Food trucks fall under this since the food must be taken to-go.
Michael Magouirk, a native Marlinite and member of the Marlin Chamber of Commerce, says that the increased food trucks are meant to give people more options while still supporting small businesses, even if not from Falls County.
“They come down here out of Waco to give Marlinites different food,” he told reporters. “They all have their permits from the city; I just coordinate and help them with where to set-up.”
The City of Marlin charges food trucks for their permits and receives sales tax on the items sold by vendors. There were originally a total of seven food trucks scheduled for Easter weekend.
Normally, food trucks are at the Lucille Williams Pavilion, but due to wet, unusable ground during last week’s storms, the trucks were moved to the Falls County Courthouse parking lot. Permission was granted by Falls County Judge Jay Elliott to allow the use of the property free of charge.
He says that small businesses were not forgotten, but were specifically considered in the idea.
“If we get people out to get [food],” he explained, “then they are more likely to buy other things.”
Understandably, local restaurant owners are concerned that in light of the current global crisis, bringing in such expensive options is taking away infrastructure that could be invested in businesses based here in town.
“I’m just trying to keep my door open and give my people their paychecks,” one frustrated business owner said. “I don’t want to lay off people because business is slow.”
Consumers can continue to support small businesses in a number of ways:
Order Take-out: Restaurants are operating in murky waters and have increased capabilities regarding takeout. Bulk items, uncooked meal kits, and alcohol are legally available for carryout and delivery. Use drive through, delivery or curbside options here in town.
Buy gift cards: Get in touch with businesses that you frequent and see how you can purchase gift cards from them. Not only does this gesture help to funnel revenue their way, but you still get to practice social distancing and they know you will be back when this situation passes.
Reschedule vs Cancel: postponing an appointment/etc instead of cancelling it lets that small business know that they still have customers who are ready to jump back into their regular routines once this situation ends.
Buy online: Check to see if businesses have an ecommerce site. This can make supporting businesses from afar easier for both producers and consumers.
The United States Small Business Administration has put together a number of programs to help small businesses during this time. These include the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance Program, the SBA Debt Relief Program, and SBA Express Bridge Loans. Local entrepreneurs can head to sba.gov to see if they are eligible for assistance.