In the last 24 hours, one thing has been made abundantly clear: the coronavirus pandemic is serious, and it is not going away.
The best evidence of this is yesterday’s slew of major event cancellations and postponements. The Coachella Music Festival, the NBA, the NCAA, and various upcoming major conferences and large gatherings announced cancellations, suspensions, and delays.
Many of the companies that planned these events stood to make millions, or even billions, of dollars from these events. And these companies most certainly considered these financial losses when choosing to postpone or cancel.
The world in which we live is business and money-oriented. When businesses shut down major events, stop corporate travel, and send workers home to work remotely, it should be taken seriously. This is America, and to gauge the seriousness of this situation, one only needs to follow the money.
When thinking about all of the major events that were cancelled yesterday, I can’t help but to think about Detroit.
Major events that take place in the city provide a huge boost to our local economy. When there is a concert, game, or event at Little Caesar’s Arena, The Fox, or Cobo Hall, it not only benefits people who work at those venues. It benefits all of the bars, restaurants, hotels, parking services, ride share drivers, liquor stores, and more in the surrounding local area.
These smaller, local businesses employ thousands of people collectively, and provide access to valuable goods and services to local consumers. They are the backbone of our local economy, and the extra money they take in through major events is significant to their survival as businesses.
For me, with all of this in mind, one question comes up in my head: will the coronavirus pandemic negatively impact our local economy and–if so–when, and to what degree?
Big-box, corporate retailers–which have massive economic resources at their disposal–will be able to weather a storm like this. It will certainly hurt their bottom line, but they will survive.
The same cannot be said for small and locally-owned businesses. Many of these businesses need to make money consistently to cover overhead, pay employees, and leave enough behind for the business owners to survive on. Many, if not most of them, do not have the resources to make it through a long-term situation of mass quarantines and event cancellations. That hypothetical situation puts local, small businesses in our community at serious risk.
It is for this reason that I am writing this article. If we as a community can accept that this pandemic may negatively affect locally-owned small businesses, then we should collectively go out of our way to support these businesses when stocking up on supplies for a potential quarantine situation.
Big box retailers are currently getting rich by selling out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water. But, they do not need this money to survive as businesses. They have ample resources to be able to weather this storm.
For the local and small businesses in our community, which employ thousands of people and feed many more, this is not the case. They, more than ever, need our support.
If you agree with the ideas behind this article, click here for a directory of locally-owned, Detroit businesses and, please, support these businesses. Help our local economy prepare for the worst by spending your money at a business that may very well depend on it in the months and weeks to come.