Shop Local and Support Small Businesses

Nearly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses from bars and restaurants to boutiques and hair salons to lock their doors, Chicago’s business community is still reeling.

Businesses have faced an evolving patchwork of restrictions since Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order that took effect March 21.

Scores of workers have been laid off amid the uncertainty, with bars and restaurants hit particularly hard. Illinois has lost more than 500,000 jobs since 2020 began, according to data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Nearly 43% of those were in the leisure and hospitality sector, which saw employment drop by 215,800 jobs year over year as of the end of January.

When you buy local, your money does much more for your community than it does when you shop at national chains. Three times more money returns to the local economy when you shop locally, while eating at locally owned restaurants brings in two times more money, according to a series of independent-business impact studies conducted by Civic Economics, a consulting firm for local businesses.

It’s no surprise that the best way to support small businesses (including those that make and sell) is to buy their goods and services. But you don’t always have to spend cash in order to show your support. Here’s how you can help the hardworking members of your community every day of the year.

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