Needless to say, doing business has changed drastically in the past couple of weeks.
That trip to the grocery store and Walmart has often become a scavenger hunt, as shoppers look for, of all things, toilet paper.
But people also are snapping up cleaning supplies, milk, meat, canned goods and water among other things as the coronavirus pandemic grows.
Are we panicking for nothing?
There is certainly reason to be concerned, as the responses from state, local and the federal government show.
There is no doubt with business shutting their doors, even temporarily, and/or limiting their hours will affect their bottom lines.
Small businesses – those with fewer than 500 employees – make up 60 percent of the nation’s jobs. If they’re not working the economy grinds to a halt.
Those independent shops and stores have tight margins, and any business disruption has a huge ripple effect.
Think of your favorite restaurants and what they have to do with the new normal. No more dine-in service; it’s either pickup, delivery or curbside. But there’s only so much curbside available, and drive-thrus aren’t equipped to handle a crush of hungry people wanting their food now.
But we have to have patience and support our friends and neighbors. These small businesses are the lifeblood of any community. All those times they helped with your child’s team, band, youth group, etc., it’s time to return the favor.
Last week, Mossy Oak of Tupelo Realtor and broker Wesley Wells partnered with Renasant Bank to buy $2,000 in gift cards from local restaurants to give to first responders. He challenged others to do the same. And indeed, others followed suit, including the community Development Foundation, which bought $4,000 in cards; and Jason Warren and Associates which partnered with Plan House Printing, Signs and Promotional Products and bought $2,000 in gifts cards.
Dare I say it? That’s the Tupelo Spirit in action.
But that spirit needs to be extended and shared across Northeast Mississippi, across the state, across the nation.
Support not just local restaurants, but locally owned shops and boutiques, too. Get gift cards, buy online, do whatever you can to spend a little money with them. We’re going to be each other’s economic lifelines through these days ahead.
Patience and perseverance will be the key to all of this. The situation likely will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.
In times like these, we are stronger together, and helping each other is how it manifests itself.