March 25, 2020

Ways to Support Local Businesses, Nonprofits That Are Temporarily Shut Down

To the Editor:

In addition to all the other worries on my mind right now about COVID-19, I’m worried about the local businesses and nonprofits in town that have had to temporarily shut down due to the outbreak. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are easy ways to help support them, even while practicing social distancing. Many restaurants are offering curbside pickup, more local retailers than you might think have online ordering, and local nonprofits make it easy to donate or get a membership online.

My wife and I decided to commit to make at least three purchases from a local business or nonprofit every week until COVID-19 is under control and stores can reopen again. If we all do the same, we can help keep Princeton’s small businesses and nonprofits going through this crisis.

So far, we’ve renewed our Garden Theatre memberships, placed online orders from Labyrinth and Small World Coffee, and we’re planning to get Friday night takeout from a local restaurant.

Here are some ideas:

Curbside pickup for one or two meals a week – not just sit-down restaurants, but also casual restaurants that might depend on foot traffic from downtown workers who are currently at home. Getting a nice takeout meal is also a nice change of pace from the sometimes monotonous life at home.

Online donations and memberships to nonprofits like the Garden Theatre, McCarter, ACP, etc.

If you’re having trouble getting staples at the grocery store, order coffee beans and ground coffee from Small World Coffee, or schedule a delivery of bread or pastries from Lillipies.

If you’re cooking more at home and need kitchen supplies, order online from Miya and Kitchen Kapers.

Order books from Labyrinth online or over the phone, if you’re looking for something to pass the time.

Buy gift cards from restaurants and shops you want to visit once the immediate danger has passed.
Palmer Square’s website has a list of the creative options that their tenants are offering right now, like pickup from The Bent Spoon’s back door, or stores that support online or phone ordering, etc.

Committing to regularly help local organizations and businesses can be a way to take a positive action every day, and can reduce the stress, anxiety and fear we’re all feeling right now.

The municipal government has also put together a list of businesses that are open:

Please join us in making this commitment! We will all get through this together.

Bill Atkins
Mount Lucas Road