Opinion & Editorial

Support local businesses

Our global, national, regional, and local community are reeling from the implications of the coronavirus — and though we all face vulnerabilities, those in our hospitality industry feel this impact acutely.These are our small business owners, restaurateurs, hotel staff, and service employees, most of whom rely on the business of both visitors and locals. Now more than ever, tourism helps hospitality employees support themselves and their families at a time where childcare and medical care may require additional financial resources.

We, like everyone else, are not exempt from this unprecedented occurrence. But this is the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Our community knows how to rally, support, and lift up one another in times of difficulty. If you’re wondering how to help while investing in the well-being of your community, and doing good things for yourself, here are a few things you can do:


For now or for later, there are multiple uses for gift cards and certificates — be they for a meal, retail offering, or activity you’ll take advantage of when you feel ready to later in the season. Have family members or friends with birthdays, anniversaries or special occasions later in the year? Purchase gift cards ahead of time! Now is the perfect window of time to make to keep small businesses from feeling the pinch. 


You’re online anyway — why not online shop at your favorite local shops? Being intentional about your purchases at times like this make a world of difference for businesses that might have more inventory than usual due to lack of foot traffic. Taking advantage of free shipping or picking up products are ways to support a local business. More free delivery opportunities are popping up all the time and include folks like Noble Estate Winery and Run Hub Northwest.


For those of you who are either taking precautionary measures or have been required to be quarantined, variety may be just what the doctor ordered — and there’s no need to leave your home to get it if you don’t want to. Many restaurants are offering delivery and even the City of Springfield is assisting by making parking space available along Main Street for customers to easily pick up takeout orders. Multiple delivery services, like Cascadian Courier Collective in Eugene, allow for the best in our region’s culinary scene to be delivered to your front door, and many restaurants have robust delivery services. Many Travel Lane County restaurant partners are offering deals and special opportunities to pick up a meal. Carte Blanche Catering has drive-up and delivery options for a BBQ lunch or dinner and you can never have enough frozen liege waffles from Off the Waffle in the freezer. Don’t forget to tip your delivery driver generously!


You’re at home. Things can get monotonous. Have you thought about supplementing your time while social distancing with local hygiene products, soaps, candles, and wares to spruce up your home? Explore our website by keyword to find partners you can support online. Also remember that being at home doesn’t mean you can’t go for a bike ride, find a new trail to hike, take a drive to Florence and view a tidepool, explore a new waterfall or just enjoy one of our amazing parks. Keep your social distancing and get some fresh air.


Local gyms and yoga studios are offering virtual spaces where you can practice from home. What’s more, if you can’t get out on a trail to experience the beauty of Lane County, you can explore a number of virtual hikes from the comfort of your living room.


Local businesses, artists, producers, gallery owners and restaurateurs can always use more traction on social media. Be sure to follow your favorites to bolster their networks. Travel Lane County has a full offering of social media channels to stay in touch with opportunities to explore the beauty of our region. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and don’t forget to view our library of community, destination and other videos on Youtube.


Did the event you were hoping to attend get rescheduled? Donate to the organization, artists, or groups that were scheduled to attend. Be sure to plan for an event further in the future by purchasing tickets in advance, too.


Local pick up, home delivery and online pre-orders can be arranged directly with farmers. This reduces food waste and helps support restaurants and farmers with excess inventory they would normally use as part of service and farmer’s markets that have been postponed or canceled. Folks like HOMEGROWN Delivery provide options to have fresh produce delivered to home each week. Many stores offer delivery or pick-up of groceries and there are same-day delivery options like Instacart, which serves Eugene-Springfield, Florence and other Lane County communities.


If you’re a Lane County business owner reading this and wondering what you can do if the coronavirus is affecting you, we want you to know that city, county and state staff are working to make information easily accessible to you and to hear from you. What’s more, there are digital tools you can use to ensure that the folks who need to find you and your goods and services can: Google recommends updating business hours if you’re limiting your open hours, updating your business descriptions to reflect current services, and making sure you have a correct phone number on your My Business listing to ensure potential visitors can reach you. Travel Lane County provides partners assistance with claiming and updating Business Listing pages, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Andy Vobora is the vice president of stakeholder relations for Travel Lane County.  He can be reached at 541-743-8770 and [email protected].



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