The Town of Bedford last week launched a long-term campaign to support local businesses during the pandemic.
A comprehensive list of businesses and the goods and services they offer can be found at www.buybedford.org, a website that is the successor to BedfordTakeOut.
“As winter approaches, it is more important than ever to support our small businesses by spending our dollars in town when possible,” said the official announcement. “This initiative will help our small and independent businesses and minimize the financial impact to our local economy.”
Alyssa Sandoval, Bedford’s economic development director, assembled the campaign. She expanded the restaurant takeout website to include shops, salons, and fitness studios.
“Local businesses are meeting safety protocols, and many have retooled their services to provide online shopping, outdoor classes, curbside pickup, and delivery to make it easier for residents to purchase goods and services,” according to the announcement. “We’re encouraging you to tag #BuyBedford on social media next time you make a purchase to encourage others to shop local.”
“We want to have the campaign up and running for as long as the pandemic is an issue for everyone,” Sandoval said, adding, “We think that’s at least through the spring and potentially through the summer.”
The effort, she said, “is really targeted toward businesses we know are particularly affected by the pandemic—restaurants, retail businesses, some of our personal services like fitness studios or salons.”
“They have seen their business significantly drop off over the past nine months. They kind of bounced back to try to adjust to this new normal, creating opportunities for folks to order online and have it delivered. A lot of businesses have adjusted and we try to highlight that on the website.”
The director is spreading the word through several media—platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as utility pole banners and lawn signs. She noted that the Bedford Chamber of Commerce “has been very supportive.”
The lists on the website are replete with details. There’s a range of small businesses and eating places, from bicycle repair to pet supplies, from Chip-In Farm and Wearovers women’s consignment to Whole Foods and Marshalls. Each business is tagged for online ordering, curbside and delivery service, website and Facebook addresses, and even specific notes.
A lengthy list of personal care, fitness, and wellness establishments includes details on making appointments, and online and even outdoor options.
Sandoval stressed that individual listings are updated on the site as soon as she receives information.
She said feedback received from the business community through a survey last spring called for the town “to let people know that we here and open, and encourage people to shop in town when they can.” Recent response on social media “has been really positive. And we are going to do weekly spotlights on social media on small businesses” that offer unique products or services.
“Amazon is doing very well right now. They make it convenient to order. But there are businesses in town that offer that same convenience,” Sandoval emphasized.
She acknowledged that some people have questioned the inclusion of corporate chain stores in the list of local businesses. “The goal is to be comprehensive and include all businesses in different categories.”
“We realize that the smaller independent businesses need more help. But we also realize that chains are part of the local business economy and that if any business closes it has an impact on Bedford’s bottom line and affects residents directly when store vacancies happening.” Sandoval added that local residents work at local businesses, larger stores as well as independent ones.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763
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