- Anna Sirota
- Main Street, Poughkeepsie
In the past two decades, small, independent businesses have been the life and soul of the Hudson Valley economy, turning the lights back on one Main Street at a time, bringing us art and food and beer and gear; teaching us new skills; and keeping us caffeinated, well-read, well-dressed, in shape, and sane.
Starting a business is a brave and risky venture even in the best of times, but with COVID-19 shutting down the global economy, thousands of Hudson Valley businesses are under threat. On March 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statewide directive
closing all gyms, theaters, and casinos and limiting bars and restaurants to takeout service, heralding a period of unprecedented economic pressure
for the state's small businesses and independent creatives. While the Trump considers emergency payouts to US citizens
, Facebook has announced a $100 million grant program
to help with operating costs for small businesses, but we can all do our part.
As Khalil Gibran wrote, "work is love made visible." The same could be said of helping to make sure that your favorite shop, salon, studio, or restaurant is still standing when we emerge from this crisis, and are once again able to patronize them. Here are six ways to help your favorite Hudson Valley businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Buy Gift Cards
If you normally budget for dining out, yoga classes, acupuncture, drinks with friends, you name it—buying gift certificates now is one of the best ways to keep your favorite businesses afloat in this tough time. And think how clever you’ll feel when your summertime fun is paid in advance!
Why not get your birthday present shopping for the year out of the way now? If you have a friend you’ve always thought would love a fiber art lesson, a pottery class, or the burgers and beers at your favorite pub, you can make a gift card purchase and create joy in several directions. Need some ideas? Here are five Hudson Valley experiences you can gift.
Browse the categories in any good local web directory (we have a ton of resources neatly categorized for you right here on Chronogram.com) for things you may need or want before you revert to the giant mall we know and love as Amazon.com. You’ll find that a good number of our local merchants and makers have online shopping pages where you can find some of the coolest clothing, art, decor, and gadgets on earth. C’mon, you’re stuck at home; you deserve a nice present for your good citizenship. Your mom does, too.
Buy a CSA
Get that CSA farm share arranged. You will feel SO intelligent in a few months, when your supply of early treats like strawberries becomes a delicious reality. And in the meantime you'll have helped our Hudson Valley farmers going strong until they can welcome us all back to to the farm to pick our own produce. It's also a way to relieve some of the pressure on the mainstream supermarket supply chain. Rondout Valley Growers Association
and the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition
are great references where you can browse and choose a farm that'll work for you, or browse our list of CSAs:
With bars and venues on mandatory closure in New York State and across the country, musicians are facing a critical period, with gigs being cancelled left and right. For artists that play to eat, every show (and every cancellation) counts. Aside from donating to Sweet Relief's COVID-19 fund for musicians
, consider support a local artist or band you love directly. Whether you are a fan of the Felice Brothers
, Marco Benevento
, The Big Takeover
, or any of the hundreds of other local acts, head to their websites to buy merch, download that album on Bandcamp and make a donation. Every trucker hat and band tee sale makes a difference.
Order Takeout or Delivery
Given Cuomo's recent mandate, New York restaurants and bars are being particularly hard-hit. So if you've got a hankering for pizza, pierogies, tacos, or steak, indulge yourself. Why not message a few friends or make a post and see if you can be designated deliverer, dropping the goodies from porch to porch. A lot of Hudson Valley restaurants didn’t have dedicated delivery staff when the coronavirus pandemic started, so organizing a driver to go collect and distribute some slammin’ takeout might mean they can still have the lights on next week.
Call your favorite eatery directly or check their social media page to see what services they're offering. Check food delivery apps like Doordash
, and UberEats to see what restaurants are participating (many have signed up in the past few weeks). However you get your food, tip your delivery person. Service industry workers are struggling right now.
Participate in Online Events
They can’t keep us apart in cyberspace. Take an online yoga class. Find a local musician who’s live-streaming a show or a maker hosting crafting workshop. Tip or make a donation whenever you can.
Share the various cool things you find online; let’s create a virtuous cycle in the Hudson Valley that can sustain us all through this challenging time and serve as a model for local solidarity. We got this, folks.