It is estimated that over 100,000 small businesses have closed in the United States since the inception of Covid-19. I find this heartbreaking not only because I own a small business myself, but because of how much I love and appreciate these types of companies. Don't get me wrong, I use Amazon in a pinch and dare you to find someone who adores Target more, but for a long time, I've seen how often people take the benefits small businesses offer for granted. I’m worried that we will lose these merchants who make unique products and have an unparalleled love and expertise in their work, not to mention a special connection with the customers they serve. Small businesses are truly the heartbeat of our communities.
I know it’s not always easy to purchase from small businesses - even more so when finances are stretched during this pandemic. It can be challenging to compete with “Prime” delivery and rock-bottom prices, but I urge you to try. Without them, we will lose so much of what makes our marketplace diverse. When you think about it, the innovation from small businesses are really what drives the American spirit and the ones that propel creativity that ultimately make our lives more convenient.
It has been incredibly inspiring to watch some of my favorite storefronts adapt throughout shelter-in-place. My favorite clothing boutique in Los Angeles is offering customers virtual shopping sessions and sending boxes of clothes for customers to try. Lisa Ridd at Smitten Films can take the many hours of footage you have gathered during these homebound weeks and edit them into coherent short films you can keep forever. I’ve been so proud to see my daughters decide to start their own bakery delivery business during these tough times - local delivery only at the moment ;).
We are all figuring out how to navigate in these new circumstances and the need for food, clothing, supplies and essentials we’ll live on. We may not be able to control how long this crisis lasts, but we can control where we spend our dollars. We are able to choose who to do business with and yes, sometimes that means paying an extra 35% for milk at your local bodega, but it’s those deliberate actions that keep our neighborhoods vibrant. When you support a local business, you are supporting families and the passion rooted within each entrepreneur.
Lastly, I urge you to learn more about where your products are manufactured and their respective business practices. At Fitz, we could have chosen to manufacture overseas but we purposefully selected Youngstown, Ohio because we wanted to work with the best in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. We pack each and every box by hand and not only “design” in the USA, but manufacture here too.
To business owners, thank you for your hard work and being there for all of us! And to our Fitz customers, thank you for your support! We are here for your eyeglass needs and want to help whether you need prescription, sunglasses or blue light filtering glasses.