The last few months have seen people traveling less and spending
a lot more time at home. Many businesses closed, some permanently
because they couldn’t withstand the economic strain of consumers
not being able to shop in person. As the nation begins to reopen,
small businesses are still struggling.
Since most of us are on a
semi-permanent staycation or
taking trips to nearby locations, now is a good time to shop
local. As someone who lives in a city, sometimes it can be
difficult to find small or local businesses to explore. Major
Chicago and Washington
D.C. are cluttered with tourist hot spots and five-star
restaurants that don’t match the experience I’m seeking out.
Sometimes, a quiet bookstore that serves a killer iced coffee is
all I want.
The following tips can help if you’re looking for some
new-to-you small businesses to support.
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In This Post Consult newspapers and blogs
Newspapers may feel like â€œa thing of the pastâ€ but local
papers still have a lot of value. If you want to try a great new
restaurant, read the food section for ideas. The New York Times
food section is my favorite place to check when looking for a place
to eat in New York. The Charleston City Paper (Charleston, North
Carolina), Washington City Paper (Washington, D.C.) and Gambit
Weekly (New Orleans) are some popular city-based papers around the
Local blogs publish the same type of content and can expose you
to new restaurants and shops. Search your city plus terms like
â€œfood,â€ â€œdining,â€ â€œrestaurant reviews,â€ â€œlocal
businessâ€ and â€œblogâ€ to find sites that are writing about the
restaurants and stores near you.
Use an app
Yelp has become a go-to for people who want to know what
theyâ€™re getting before committing to a restaurant for the night.
Itâ€™s a great tool with a lot of benefits but it often recommends
the same few restaurants that are popular in the area. Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) and
Eater are some alternatives
that provide wider options. Eater has a regional page for most
major cities and each city has a subcategory that lets you search
Ask locals (Photo
by Linka A Odom/Getty Images)
If youâ€™re really looking for an authentic experience, why not
ask the people who reside there? If you donâ€™t want to just stop
someone on the street, the bartenders or waiters in your area are
great resources. They are personable and likely to know a good hole
in the wall that you would never find on your own. I found my
favorite cafe and getaway, Sankofa Cafe, by asking D.C
natives where they go.
Looking for a fresher alternative? Many towns have weekly
farmers markets that bring out local businesses and eateries.
Iâ€™ve found cherished jars of jam, perfectly crafted pies and even
one of the best messy burgers Iâ€™ve ever had. Vendors arenâ€™t
even always food-related. Some sell crafts, services and everyday
Take a tour (Photo
by Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images)
Large cities, countrysides and even small towns have food and
wine tours you can book and thereâ€™s really one for everyone. TPG
staffers have some great U.S. based recommendations but, as is the
new normal, make sure you check hours of operation and social
distancing requirements, before heading out.
Culinary Tours were outstanding on our last trip there,â€ says
editor Nick Ewen. â€œWe wound up doing two tours with them,
including the farm-to-table one (where we picked ingredients at the
farmers market, gave them to a local chef and he created a
multicourse meal out of them).â€
Credit Cards editor, Benet Wilson, recommends The Kentucky Bourbon Trail if
youâ€™re out in the Midwest. The site says to plan for about a week
if you want to experience each of the 18 distilleries on the trail.
Each tour lasts about an hour and most people do three tours a
Check your social media feeds (Image
by Twin Design/Shutterstock)
Social media can also be your friend when looking for a new
place to eat. Facebook groups are my go-to when searching for an
off the radar bite in a new town. You can get honest reviews from
people in the area and ask any questions you have. Facebook is also
a good way to find local events, pop up shops or openings in the
Other platforms, such as Instagram, have gotten me to go to a
restaurant more than once after seeing a drool-worthy photo on
their page. The explore pageâ€™s food tab is a foodies dream,
filled with amazing eats around the world. Instagramâ€™s shop
feature is my go-to when looking for unique items that others
wonâ€™t have. A few clicks and youâ€™re cart is on its way.
courtesy of InstagramCheck the Amex Map
Amex introduced an interactive map to locate all of the small
businesses that accept American Express. Simply enter a location
and get a list of all the businesses in the area. Currently, Amex
cardholders are eligible to receive up to $50 in statement credits
when shopping at a small business. The deadline to enroll was
recently extended to
Well-known and chain businesses are always useful because you
know youâ€™ll find exactly what youâ€™re looking for. However, the
beauty of small businesses is that you can discover an unexpected
gem. Though it can take a little more work to locate a really
special small business to support, we hope these resources give you
a push in the right direction.
Featured image by Thomas Barwick/ Getty Images
Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
How to find a special restaurant or small business near