The second half of April is finally here. The sun is warming, the snow is melting and the geese are starting to return. As you’re soaking up these 50-degree rays, the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation is here to remind you to keep your local businesses, and the many ways you can support them, in mind.
Warmer weather in Fairbanks brings the opportunity to change things up — go biking, float the Chena, or visit the abundance of our parks and trails — but when it comes to new ways to support local businesses, it’s not always as clear to see how. Because of this, BuyAlaska has crafted a list of “30 Ways to Support Local” as part of their April Elevate Alaska event.
As you shift into spring, take a look at the 30 ways and see how you can show your support. Maybe start slow, like ordering out at your favorite local restaurant, treating yourself to your favorite local sweet treat, or spicing things up with a new Made In Alaska spice, sauce or tea.
Once you’ve given these a try, pass on the Buy Local-Love and do a little something for someone else: Buy a coffee or coffee card for someone; post about the importance of shopping local on social media while tagging your favorite local business; or say thank you by giving a gift card from a locally-owned business to a teacher or health care worker.
If, instead, you’re looking for ways to have some fun in the extra hours of sun, try these activity-oriented ways to Support Local: Think adventurous and support local tour operators by booking a tour right in our community; have a cocktail — or mocktail — at one of the many local breweries, pubs, and distilleries; or book an Alaska weekend getaway for this weekend or the upcoming summer season.
Do you want to support your local farms as the agricultural season begins? You can start by buying Interior grown flowers from local shops or markets, or by picking your favorite recipe and making it with “Alaska Grown” or “Golden Heart Grown” products.
And check off one more of the 30 Ways to Support Local by visiting the Local Business Directory on BuyAlaska.com to see a diverse list of Interior businesses.
The 30 Ways to Support Local might sound intimidating at first, but as you read through the list you’ll realize that you’ve probably already completed a few. Fairbanks local businesses rely on the Fairbanks community, so as you’re out and about this spring don’t forget about all the ways that you can support your in-town businesses. The full list of 30 ways can be found at www.BuyAlaska.com/30-ways, by visiting FEDC’s Fairbanks First Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FairbanksFirst, or on the Fairbanks First webpage at www.investfairbanks/fairbanks-first.
As for local businesses and business owners, one of the reasons FEDC and our statewide partners are doing extra-extra to encourage local shoppers to shop small (local) is because you asked us to: When asked in the September Covid business survey what “non-monetary” thing could be done to help Alaska’s small businesses, the overwhelming response was, “a robust shop/buy local campaign.”
You asked. We responded.
Today, the Alaska Small Business Development Center, creator and curator of the BuyAlaska.com website, and purveyor of a vast array of small business assistance resources, is running another in its series of Covid impact business surveys — asking businesses and owners like yourself how it’s going and what you need. It’s important for Fairbanks and Alaska that you respond and let organizations like FEDC, SBDC and policymakers know how to best help and best support your businesses. The survey is at www.surveymonkey.com/r/C19AKIndustryImpact.
If you have or run a business, we ask that you please help us help you by taking a moment to fill out the survey. And if you’re a shopper, know that even a small change in the way you interact with our locally-owned businesses can have a huge impact on our community. So as you and the rest of Fairbanks thaw out over the coming weeks, please keep your local businesses and the many ways to support them in mind.
FEDC can’t promise that, in our sub-arctic environment, April showers will bring May flowers. But we can assure that making it rain for our Fairbanks local businesses — for 30 days and everyday — will help keep them flowering year round and for years to come.
Evan Wilken and Jomo Stewart are project managers with the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation.