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#DSMlocalchallenge: 39 Ways to Support Local Businesses

Support Local DSM Businesses

April 17, 2020

In these times of social distancing, it’s important to stay both safe and healthy. While my family has truly embraced our isolation at home, I can’t help but think of all of my favorite local small businesses around Greater Des Moines (DSM) — Will they be able to weather the storm? How can I do my part to protect myself and others, but also support the businesses I love most.

Support Local Businesses Safely

If we get creative, there are many ways to still safely support our local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve been following the #DSMlocalchallenge on social media, you know this to be true! I am continually impressed by the amazingly unique ways people are able to stay distanced yet shop local here in DSM! With this in mind, here’s my list of 39 ways you can support local businesses from afar during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Artists: Whether home décor or coloring sheets for kids, you can purchase direct from local artists’ websites or from their Etsy accounts and have items shipped right to your mailbox. Laura Palmer and Jenna Brownlee are a few of my top local artist picks.Shop Local Artists
  2. Attractions, Arts + Culture: Digitally renew or purchase an annual membership or gift card to use at a later date!
  3. Attractions, Arts + Culture: Hunt for virtual offerings to stay up-to-date with your favorite exhibits, shows, concerts and more. The Des Moines Symphony, Des Moines Arts Center and Des Moines Metro Opera are all offering online ways to engage.
  4. Attractions, Arts + Culture: Find opportunities for family entertainment from the safety of your vehicle! Blank Park Zoo is offering drive-by visits of the zoo — without having to leave your car.
  5. Beverages: Order curbside pickup or delivery. Exile Brewing, Confluence Brewing Company, 515 Brewing, Winestyles in Ankeny and many others are getting creative with curbside pickup, delivery, online ordering and more.
  6. Beverages: Hit up the drive-through for your favorite local coffee, smoothie, tea, etc.
  7. Beverages: Many local restaurants and bars are selling their alcohol and accompaniments curbside, including recipes for mix-at-home creations.
  8. Clothing: Order online to shop local boutique retailers for clothes, shoes, jewelry and more. Some have promoted digital try-on features using their social media platforms.
  9. Clothing: Don’t forget about consignment stores, especially for kids’ items! Call ahead and ask for help in hand-selecting items that meet your needs. Consider asking to FaceTime if you prefer to see the items in advance; then ask for your items to be packaged up, pay over the phone and pick up from just outside the door if the shop owner is willing to oblige.
  10. Clothing: Let’s all admit that we’re probably spending more time in comfy clothes than usual. Local t-shirt shops to the rescue! Take a look at BOZZ Prints, Raygun, Locally Grown Clothing Co. and others to determine online ordering, delivery or pickup options. Check out this Locals Supporting Locals shirt.Locals Supporting Locals Shirt
  11. Entertainment: Make a playlist or two to enjoy while at home. Scout out a local record store to purchase music locally and request pickup or delivery. Bonus: Find albums from local musicians and double down on supporting local! You can also purchase tunes from local musicians without leaving the couch using online platforms like iTunes, or even enjoy a virtual house concert!
  12. Entertainment: Check out your local hobby or toy shop for new ways to play at home. Look for puzzles, board games, educational toys and more. Call ahead and see if you can purchase over the phone and coordinate a socially distanced pickup.
  13. Entertainment – Support your local book store! Pick up something interesting to read — whether educational, enlightening or entertaining. Reach out via email or phone and request a pre-packaged bag of your selected read(s). Unfortunately browsing is not an option these days, so ask for a recommendation or two if you need to! Or find a list of local authors here.
  14. Exercise: Spending more time outside means we’re planning to spend more time on our bicycles this spring at the Thompson house! We’re looking to buy a Burley bike trailer to use this summer and will be sure to research local options from Des Moines-based bike shops.
  15. Furniture & Home Goods: Now that I’m spending a lot of time at home, I’ve got my eye on a few ways to spruce things up around the house — including some new furniture. With our kitchen table doubling as a desk, we decided to order a new table and chairs from Homemakers Furniture. We ordered via phone (but they have online ordering, too!) and we will take advantage of their delivery service to have our new digs dropped off right inside our garage.Flower Arrangement
  16. Gardening & Flowers: Why not add some cheerful color inside your home? Whether for yourself or as a gift, florists are still delivering fresh cut flowers to your doorstep. My hubby recently ordered flowers from Boesen the Florist to brighten up my day and our kitchen!
  17. Gardening & Flowers: Springtime is the perfect time to liven up your outdoor flower beds and garden. Enjoy time in the sun while maintaining social distancing. Call ahead to arrange a socially-distanced pickup from a local greenhouse — such as Canoyer Garden Center in Grimes.
  18. Gardening & Flowers: Don’t forget about inside plant friends! I love that Art Terrarium is offering DIY kits and plats for curbside pickup or delivery, and I’m adding this to my list to take advantage of.Art Terrarium Plants for Pickup
  19. Gas/Fuel: Choose a locally-owned gas station. Kum & Go and Casey’s are examples of DSM-based convenience stores and a few have recently announced car-side service where attendants will pump gas and deliver convenience store items to you without having to leave your car.
  20. Grocery: Choose locally-owned grocery stores. Did you know Fareway is headquartered in Boone and Hy-Vee is headquartered in West Des Moines? If you choose delivery, remember to tip well and also be sure to express your gratitude to these front-line workers for their service in keeping our community fed and healthy. (PHOTO)
  21. Grocery: When you stock up on food, pay special attention to adding local Iowa and DSM-based products to your shopping cart. A few examples include: AE Dairy milk, Barilla pasta noodles, Pasquale’s Frozen Pizza, local beer and wine — to name a few! My shopping trip is never complete without a container of Wells Blue Bunny vanilla bean ice cream.
  22. Gym: Don’t cancel your gym membership, but be sure to stay active at home. Consider purchasing at-home exercise gear and equipment from local places. We recently purchased a treadmill from Scheels and an at-home free weights system from the local Play-It-Again Sports in Clive.
  23. Hair and Nail Salons: Pay ahead for a future appointment. I’ve got my next THREE haircuts booked out through Halo Hair Designs located on Main Street in Grimes, and I’m really looking forward to some pampering when social distancing has ended.
  24. Hair and Nail Salons: Stock up on your favorite pampering products and request delivery to your doorstep or a curbside pickup. If you can, buy more than you need now to have extra on-hand for the future and support local business owners today.
  25. Home Goods: As I look around our home, I can’t help but think of ways to redecorate. I’m daydreaming about ordering a “Happy at Home” box from local Historic East Village shop Ephemera — a grab-bag style, mail delivered box of happiness with things like something to do / something to smell / something to grow / something to soften / something that’s sweet / something to cleanse. Sounds like a perfect package to look forward to arriving in the mail. I might even send one to a friend for a pick-me-up as well!
  26. Home Services: Last fall, we learned we needed a new roof due to wind damage and luckily this is a service that can safely be done without having visitors set foot inside our home so we have our roof replacement scheduled to take place in May.
  27. Home Services: With such a strong focus on hygiene and cleanliness, why not book a cleaning service to use when the pandemic has ended? And offer to pay ahead, if you’re able.
  28. Home Services: Many of us are spending a lot of time outside these days, and perhaps now is the time to upgrade your deck or build a firepit, add a playset, or tend to your yard and landscaping. Many local companies offer these services and the work can easily be done exclusively outdoors and from a distance.
  29. Hotels: We can all look forward to getting away from home a bit in the future when the pandemic has ended. Be sure to support local hotels by buying a gift card to use as a staycation at a later date.
  30. Massage & Spas: Stock up on your favorite products and request delivery to your doorstep. If you typically buy from a big box store, try finding your favorite items or something similar at a local shop instead.
  31. Massage & Spas: Schedule something a few months out and offer to pay ahead. Treat yourself!
  32. Photographers: Buy a gift card and give it as a gift. Shoutout to local photographer Christopher Maharry for filling my inbox with this idea.
  33. Photographers: Book a “porch step” session with your favorite photographer to document this age of social distancing.
  34. Photographers: Book a future session, and offer to pay ahead. I booked my son’s one year photo session with April & August Photography to take place in June.Taste of New York pizzas
  35. Professional Development: With extra time at home, why not take advantage of virtual trainings and webinars from local businesses? Tero International is offering virtual workshops like “How to Achieve Winning Outcomes,” “Championing Innovation and Leading Change,” and more.
  36. Restaurants: Order carry out or delivery — and remember to tip well. We had pizza delivered to our doorstep from Taste of New York in West Des Moines and even ordered extra to stock up our freezer to make quick lunches.
  37. Restaurants: Buy a gift card now, use it later! 38. Sweet Treats: Craving donuts? Cupcakes? Places like Crème Cupcake and Hurts Donuts have some unique menu items with at-home delivery options, too!
  38. Sweet Treats: No need to curb your sweet tooth in spite of the pandemic! For example, Chocolaterie Stam and Beaverdale Confections are both taking orders for customers to pick up curbside.Curbside Pickup at Stam

Do you have an idea for #40 for this list? Let’s hear it on Twitter and Instagram! Learn how you can take the DSM Local Challenge to support local small businesses safely from your home — and then share your ideas using hashtag #DSMlocalchallenge. I look forward to seeing the creative ideas you come up with!

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Kristine Thompson

Since 2015, Kristine Thompson has served as director of marketing at the Greater Des Moines Partnership - the economic and community development organization serving Greater Des Moines (DSM). Thompson's role includes marketing, advertising, research and branding efforts for more than 40 Partnership-affiliated entities, initiatives, campaigns and events. A UNI grad, Thompson knows the Greater Des Moines market well having served in various marketing and communications roles at the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau for four years. Additionally, Thompson has a marketing agency background with prior experience at Two Rivers Marketing as well as Strategic Marketing Services and Amperage (formerly ME & V Advertising Agency) in Cedar Falls, Iowa.