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Newspapers out in force for businesses

By Betsy Edwards

It’s game on.

Small and medium local businesses are truly the backbone of our communities. For hundreds of years, local newspapers have had a partnership with the local business community of which we are part.

Virginia businesses, like the rest of the country, have come to a screeching halt and are feeling the loss of their customer base every day. Virginia Press Association members and their sales teams are working closely with businesses to help them with ideas to change their messaging during difficult times, or to simply remind citizens of their long-standing relevance to the communities they serve. It’s not just about promoting products and services that residents have come to expect from local businesses; it’s more about the contributions that these businesses bring to their communities as they have woven themselves into the fabric of the local economy.

Restaurants have been asked to close and are unsure when patrons will pass through their doors once again. Downtown storefronts, including the many mom-and-pop operations that rely on heavy foot traffic, are struggling with their bottom lines. These businesses include some of our smaller daily and weekly newspapers.

So now is a good time for all of us to show a united front in support of our local businesses. News organizations believe it is important to bring you up-to-date news and information, helping to keep Virginians informed and safe through this health crisis. We also feel it is important to support Virginia’s local business communities.

Virginia newspapers and their local readers have been there for local businesses through thick and thin, and we are there for them now.

Here is how you can help your local businesses:

  • Grab takeout or get delivery from a local restaurant today.
  • Visit your favorite local retail store’s website, purchase gift cards for yourself and others to keep some money flowing to their bottom lines.
  • Support a community gym and take virtual online yoga/fitness classes.
  • Buy gift cards from hair and nail salons, restaurants and bars, and other local businesses we want to be there for us once the crisis has passed.
  • If you shop online for things you’ll need while in self-quarantine, make these purchases from the websites of local businesses. Some may still deliver to you.

When you visit the websites of your favorite local businesses, please notice that many are offering discounts or telling their customers how they can assist. Many businesses are getting creative and changing their commercial models already to offer services remotely or shipping their merchandise to their customers.

Our 175 newspaper members are proud to be essential business partners for the commonwealth.

Our wish — like yours — is that we can return to a somewhat more normal life soon.

Until then, if you’re a business owner, let your local daily or weekly newspaper help you get your message out. If you’re a loyal reader, support your local businesses in any way you can right now.

Be well. Be safe. 

Betsy Edwards is the executive director of the Virginia Press Association and Virginia Press Services.