How to Support Small Businesses During COVID-19

Lloyd Vogel

Hello there wonderful Garage Grown Gear community! I hope this message finds you healthy, well, and safe. These are truly unprecedented times, and as we all attempt to grapple with a world that changes drastically by the day, I wanted to reflect on COVID-19 as it relates to GGG and the small brands we work with.

As a small business that dedicates itself to supporting the work of other small businesses, we’ve experienced first hand the effects that COVID-19 has had on small companies. From layoffs and mandated closures to difficulties with sourcing raw materials for products, it’s an incredibly tough time to be a small business — regardless of industry.

After pouring themselves into their companies for years, small outdoor business owners are now facing uncertainty.  Just a short time ago they were gearing up for the sales boost that accompanies late spring and summer outdoor activities; now they are encountering canceled hikes, slow sales, the inability to produce new products, and an economy with an inauspicious trajectory. 

To put it simply, small companies face losing the progress they've spent years building. The ramifications are real for people.

In the midst of this global pandemic, it is proving difficult to determine where we as individuals can best invest our own time, energy and resources. While basic needs definitely come first, this week we have received dozens of emails from community members asking what they can do to best support the company founders and small brands they love. 

For those with the means, health, and availability to do so, here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Have you canceled an upcoming hike due to COVID-19? Try not to return your gear. Keep it for a future trip! Chances are that money has already been spent on something else. A surge in returns during times of low sales can feel like a kick in the teeth.

  2. Have gear needs for a hopefully doable trip later this year? Consider buying your gear now instead of waiting. While small companies will be happy for your order whenever it's placed, it’ll make the most impact if purchased now! This provides cash in hand and work for employees to help get everyone through the upcoming weeks.

  3. Thinking about making a purchase from a larger big-box company? See if there is a small company equivalent. If you aren't sure where to look, shoot us an email and we'll happily send suggestions your way!

  4. Are there particular brands and products that you just love? Like and comment on their social media posts, share their content as you feel comfortable, and drop them appreciative messages from time to time! Doing so is free, and incredibly helpful.

  5. Have a friend with a birthday coming up? Buy them a gift from a small company. Not sure exactly what they'd want? Gift cards are an awesome option!

  6. Be understanding with delays, slow responses, and hiccups along the way. Business owners are not pandemic experts, and everyone is just doing their best to adapt to their constantly evolving circumstances.

  7. Consider not using a promo code or discount. I know they are tempting, but even a 10% difference is a big deal to a small brand.

As for Garage Grown Gear, we have not been immune to the effects of COVID-19. While for the time being we remain open and shipping, we do so with modified staffing, altered daily operations, an inventory focused on high-need items, extended shipping timeframes on certain products, strict sanitary measures, and an almost daily evaluation of procedures. 

For the past 2-3 weeks that has meant a drastic shift in emphasis towards dehydrated meals, portable bidets, pee clothes, body wipes, first aid salves, powdered toothpaste and other items that are finding particular relevance during these challenging times. 

We’re incredibly fortunate in the sense that our entire team is essentially remote by nature, with small offices in both Minneapolis, Minnesota and Driggs, Idaho. We’ve been using cloud-based, digital communication tools for years now, so that aspect of running GGG is already embedded into our operations. 

Now, more than ever, it is important to cling closely to the communities and people that we care about. If you have ideas for other ways to support small companies, want to exchange a friendly email, or would like to hear more about the changes we are making to our operations over here at GGG, don't hesitate to shoot us an email. Your support, kindness, and positivity are what makes everything happen.

With an abundance of appreciation and love,

Lloyd, Amy, Adam, Jansen, Katya, Ben, Tyler, and Maria

4 comments

Stephen

Stephen

Every items purchased from you has served this hiker so very well. Each item has trail-stories embedded in them from the many uses and outdoor memories. Each trek with the numerous tools, gear and garments brings genuine appreciation of Garage Grown Gear and you.

gregory hardy

gregory hardy

Your sentiments and small business encouragement is greatly appreciated, thank you.

Nancy

Nancy

Hi Lloyd, Amy and all you wonderful people at GGG. Lloyd, this is a fantastic article! Thank you so much for putting things into perspective and offering specific and constructive suggestions on how any individual can make a difference for small outdoor companies that have developed unique and much appreciated products. Let’s all do what we can to keep them going. Be well, everyone.

Pear

Pear

Love you guys! Thanks for all you do!!

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