The life of a small business owner is one defined by a great idea, an uncharted opportunity, and a lot of gumption. It’s extremely rewarding at its highs to see what a scrappy team can accomplish, but the onset of COVID-19 has made for some of the most challenging operational circumstances that these teams will ever know. With shifting market conditions and strained customer spending, small businesses must rely on bootstrapped thinking, charitable mindsets, and an endless flow of resilience. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. We’re proud to give you a glimpse into the self starters and entrepreneurs toughing out these times with a heart, as they find the good in this crisis in ways that help both their customers & community. These stories of self-starters letting their entrepreneurial spirit shine in a time of darkness are just some of the ways that people are coming together to support each other.

 

Why the coronavirus has been particularly tough on small businesses

When it comes to brick and mortar SMEs, the sharp decrease in foot traffic has impacted revenues due to lockdown and shelter-in-place restrictions. For those that haven’t already arranged for e-commerce or delivery options, there is hardly the time to organize such a drastic logistical shift.

Furthermore, many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the same financial cushions that allow them to carry on through tough periods like larger corporations with diversified portfolios or revenue coming in from more than one market. A recent Goldman Sachs-initiated survey of 15,00 small business owners across the U.S. found 51% of owners saying “their business will only be able to continue to operate for 0-3 months” and 53% of their employees simply “don’t have the ability to telecommute” under COVID-19.

When it comes to government intervention, dispatches of small business loans and stimulus could be a lifesaver, but the delays are leaving owners in limbo. Even after relief legislation was signed into order in early April, banks are left struggling to process Cares Act loans for the estimated 70% of U.S. small business owners who applied for them, according to the Washington Post.

 

Why Blueground is rooting for small businesses

Blueground salutes our fellow entrepreneurs and admires the challenges that they face when going at it alone. We have strength in numbers, and creating a network of support is how we will weather the storm, that’s why we’re encouraging our current guests and social media fans to buy local!

Local businesses are continuously adapting to new contactless forms of their business operations to continue to serve their customers throughout the epidemic. Blueground praises their efforts, and we feel confident to support them at a time when the health and safety of our guests and neighbors are our utmost priority. While our guests do their part in practicing healthy habits, they can rest assured that their local businesses are taking the same precautions — like a neighborhood grocer doing curbside pickup, the local taco shop leaving deliveries doorside, and your corner cafe sending coffee grounds already packaged in disposable cardboard boxes. Similarly, Blueground is applying CDC & WHO guidelines to offer contactless support and spaces to work from home, and to shelter-in-place.

 

A tour of the world’s small businesses weathering the COVID-19 storm

Amidst the doomscrolling, we’re finding those feel-good stories that have shown how local businesses are coming together to serve their communities in these trying times. Have a look through the eyes of our Blueground locations, from West Coast to East Coast and around the world. Read through a sample of handpicked recommendations from our local teams who continue to loyally support their neighborhood business owners while sharing their local love with guests.

Los Angeles

From professional-grade aprons to everyday, machine-washable cotton masks. That was the strategic reaction of Hedley & Bennett in the wake of COVID-19. Their fashionable Wake Up & Fight Masks were designed with the help of Dr. Robert Cho, an L.A. pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and conceived for everyday errands. Buy one reusable mask, and one will be donated in your name to a frontline worker in a hospital, grocery store or restaurant.

sewing fabric mask at home

#BluegroundforSmallBusinesses L.A. recommendation: At Esters Wine Shop & Bar, marked-down wines, prepared meals and wine-paired snacks are the makings of a special night in. Get your hamper of three sommelier-picked bottles and a cheese and charcuterie platter delivered to you that same evening for orders placed before 2 p.m.

Washington, D.C.

Brides and grooms globally are facing the realistic prospect of postponed weddings in 2020. However, D.C.’s wedding businesses Something Vintage and Carine’s Bridal have turned their recently emptied calendars and accumulated coordination skills towards the call for fabric mask production. With four drop-off points around the city (all of which are wedding businesses), these local business owners are utilizing their social media audiences to sign up volunteers and fabric donations on the production end, and identifying hospitals with PPE deficiencies on the receiving end.

#BluegroundforSmallBusinesses D.C. recommendation: Near our homes in NoMa, the U Street Corridor and the West End, you’ll find a location of independently-owned Streets Markets which conveniently offer InstaCart online ordering and delivery. Ready-to-go meals from shrimp tempura udon to poke-style tacos are available for delivery through Uber Eats.

New York City

Though the dining room at Fort Greene’s Colonia Verde has gone quiet, Brooklynites are able to get a taste of their favorite local Latin eatery from home (and best yet with frozen meals to stock away). Ingredients are still sourced directly from their network of farmers and you can assemble your own arepa night in with portions of achiote-marinated chicken, carnitas and the like. For those missing their adult drinks, they have poured 5-ounce cocktails into eye-catching flasks like their Cucumber-Gin Old Fashioned. In order to hit your $50 order minimum (and otherwise!), add on a soup at checkout which will be cooked and delivered to a first responder at the Brooklyn Hospital on your behalf.

bike delivery during quarantine

#BluegroundforSmallBusinesses NYC recommendation: Our New York team is impartial to Pisillo’s paninis and thankfully they can still be ordered over Seamless during shelter-in-place measures. Carmello and Antonella, a husband and wife duo from southern Italy, are the champions of these made-to-order sandwiches built on bread baked the same morning, and cold cuts sourced from Italy.

London

Having identified the days-long backlog of grocery delivery orders across the U.K. (and we’re guessing a recently-new favoring for comfy attire over dry cleaned office wear), I Hate Ironing has mobilized its fleet of 60 vans to now deliver boxes of essentials. Contact-free deliveries across London include a mix of fruits, vegetables and essentials (i.e., bread, eggs, butter, pasta and milk). And say you did happen to stain your duvet from eating dark chocolate in bed; well you can also hand over your washing for their team to take care of, as well.

#BluegroundforSmallBusinesses London recommendation: A good read is an escape unto itself. That’s why Daunt Books has thrown together book bundles and will deliver it straight to you. Choose from book threesomes on themes like Sports Books, Crime Fiction or the Balkans!

Dubai

VeggieTech and Noodle House are providing free locally-grown produce to healthcare workers, that’s everyone “from nurses and surgeons, all the way to housekeeping, maintenance, & reception” according to Gulf News. Nutritious care packages are delivered directly to hospitals and clinics, surely appreciated by frontline workers who won’t have to queue up at local supermarkets to shop otherwise.

#BluegroundforSmallBusinesses Dubai recommendation: Newly indoctrinated into the world of cooking? Let Livefreshr make it all the easier with recipes and ingredients delivered to your door. All ingredients come portioned along with easy-to-follow recipes with photo aids. You’ll be whipping up roasted salmon and polenta in no time!

 

How you can help closed businesses in your area

couple ordering online from bed with an iPad

Unfortunately, a large swath of small and medium-sized businesses have been forced to close their doors after being deemed non-essential services. But your support shouldn’t stop there. Here are a few ways that you can ensure the longevity of your favorite local business, from the comfort of your own home:

  • Order and buy directly from your local business (to ensure that they as a local business retain the maximum possible)
  • Pour yourself a drink at home, but continue to tip your bartender (or choose to tip a random bartender in your city through ServiceIndustry.tips)
  • Sing the praises of your area businesses, amplify their names over social media and encourage friends to shop there
  • Do your birthday and holiday shopping early (another chore checked off your list!)
    • Buy a gift card to spend while under containment measures, or to use later in the year once businesses open again (e.g., Verizon has launched a Pay it Forward campaign to encourage gift card purchases, while in Europe, you can buy store credit to support a local business through Gift Local)
    • Browse through gift ideas on talkshoplive which allows you to hear the direct pitch behind each entrepreneur’s product — and includes a number of book launches hosted by the author

 

Where we go from here

Given the current times, Blueground’s motto has shifted from encouraging our guests to “show up and start living” to now, “show up and stay home”. But our beloved, local businesses must continue “living,” and so we are committed to promoting local businesses for all your essential needs (e.g., grocery delivery, meals, coffee, beverages, books, pharmacy essentials, etc.) Blueground’s Instagram followers have been treated to weekly recommendations on how to support local businesses across our 12 worldwide locations, helping our guests and communities both thrive during these challenging times. Furthermore, guests can make use of our partnership with TaskRabbit to get assistance with errands around town — all delivered to their doorstep in a contactless manner.

Whether you are a healthcare worker, a caregiver for a vulnerable loved one, a student, or a traveler just in need of a safe, move-in ready home in your city, Blueground encourages you to find a home with us. Shop consciously in your local area and we can do our part in paying it forward!

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