As we enter week six of telework, I find myself looking for small bits of normalcy. Finding new ways to support local businesses that I enjoy frequenting the most has helped achieve that. Rewinding to early March, I packed up my essentials at the 300Brand offices and thought I’d be back in a few short weeks. In those early days, I saw a lot of my favorite local businesses scrambling to launch virtual offerings. Yoga studios were streaming classes on social media, coffee shops were offering online ordering, and neighborhood restaurants were adding delivery for the first time. Were these options perfect? No. But they were helping us all get by.

Fast forward, many of us are still at home. It also appears that businesses have gone all-in when it comes to enhancing their virtual, mobile, or online offerings. The yoga studio figured out how to stream music alongside classes, the coffee shop is piloting delivery services, and restaurants are streamlining no-contact pick-up and delivery. In some ways, the kinks are being worked out and we are finding our rhythm.

I’ve compiled a list of resources that help take advantage of the creative ways local businesses, artists, restaurants, studios, and more are leveraging the latest virtual, mobile, and online platforms to deliver value (and dinner!) to their home-bound communities. While I am based in Washington, D.C. – you can access many of these resources from anywhere – or you can take a look to see what similar resources exist in your community.

  • No gym? Find a virtual class from your local studio. Consider this a chance to try a new class that never fit your schedule or revisit an old instructor who moved away. Get creative…use your dog or cat as a weight.
  • Miss dining out? Many local chefs are taking to Instagram and TikTok to teach a cooking class. While your cacio e pepe might not get five-stars, you could surprise yourself.
  • Looking for some retail therapy? This group of local shops have come together to offer an online Small Business Saturday event. It’s not the same as leisurely window shopping, but now you have something to look forward to in the mail.
  • Committed to learning a new skill? These virtual classes might be the motivation you need. Round up a group of friends for a virtual cocktail making class or maybe a solo drawing 101 course is more your speed.
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Logan Prescott