The pandemic has obviously disrupted many aspects of people’s everyday lives.

It’s no secret that after Gov. Walz’s address last Wednesday evening that many small businesses will suffer even more, keeping the doors open after the shutdown may be a challenge. Some may not even survive. Community members, friends and family are losing jobs.

According to a report issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2019, small businesses account for 44% of economic activity in the United States. Small businesses create two-thirds of new jobs and deliver 43.5% of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP).

No matter how people feel about the shutdown (some believe it is necessary, some do not), it is happening. If the local economy is going to survive, how can people help?

There is a thread on Facebook for suggestions here.


Small businesses are not just integral parts of communities, employing millions across the country, they also are operations that fund the very communities they service. More money stays in the community, jobs are created, customers get personalized service sometimes with a personal connection. During this shutdown, customers can still support local business by ordering take-out, purchasing gift cards/certificates and shopping or ordering online for delivery.


Readily provide recommendations of small businesses with which you have done business. Share great experiences on social media or through word of mouth.


Donate to clubs and organizations. Many clubs and organizations perform charitable projects such as providing meals, transportation, etc.

Donate to local food shelves. Lakes & Pines website lists food shelves serving Aitkin County here.


A chamber of commerce is a business network tool, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses.

Local chambers of commerce are working to promote shopping local and aiding in the survival of local businesses.


Social media users spend on average 2 hours and 24 minutes per day networking across social networks according to Social networking can have a social and a business purpose through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

By sharing and commenting on local business posts, people can help the business reach a larger audience.


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will oversee the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program approved by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz on June 16, 2020.

This program will make available $10,000 grants to Minnesotan owned and operated businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. These are grants and no repayment will be required. For more information, click here.

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