dog and girl in shop

Tips for Shopping Local

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A great way to help support local businesses!

As much of the United States remains a patchwork of openings and closures, the needs of both people and pets continue. Choosing to shop at locally-owned stores is a great way to fulfill your pets’ needs, as well as make a positive impact on your community. Here are some tips for making the most of your pet supply shopping during the pandemic.

1. Choose to Shop Local
We know there are many options when it comes to buying your pet supplies. But during these challenging times, consider the impact that shopping at a local store can have beyond your individual purchase. The store is not only serving you, but it is also helping to keep many other areas of the economy going. The store may be utilizing a local rug or uniform laundering company or continuing to pay to advertise in a local newspaper. They may be purchasing meals from local restaurants to feed their hardworking employees, or continuing to make donations to the local animal shelter. Your support not only helps keep the store afloat, but it also helps the store make a difference in the community.

If you prefer the convenience of online shopping, check to see if your local store is doing curbside pickup or home delivery. Many stores have adapted to the challenges they are facing, and are now offering these services to help serve you safely, no shipping time required!

2. Make a List and Practice Shopping Etiquette
Take inventory of what you need before you get to the store, and make a list so you can be in and out without lingering too much. Also, if you are able, consider buying more than you normally would, which helps minimize your trips to the store and also increases your preparedness in case of an emergency. Pet store staff will appreciate your consideration! “We, of course, love interacting with our customers and their pets! However, during these scary times, we especially love the customers who don’t spend too much time browsing. We understand that it’s nice to just get out of the house, but when customers show that they care about our safety as much as we care about theirs, it means a lot to us,” said Olivia, assistant manager of a local pet supply store in West Michigan. Please continue to follow your local ordinances and social distancing guidelines, and know that your favorite employees can’t wait to spend time catching up with you soon!

3. Buy Some Gift Cards
If your local store offers gift cards, pick some up now to use as holiday gifts. You’ll be crossing things off a to-do list you haven’t even written yet! A $5 or $10 gift card for each pet lover in your life will go a long way for the store now, and a long way for you when the hectic holiday season rolls around.

4. Show Social Media Love
In this era of social distancing, social media is one of our few connections to the outside world. If you have a great experience at a local store, why not tag them in your Instagram post or leave them a five-star Google review? Social media is a great way to feel connected, and leave a lasting impression for your favorite shops.

5. Buy Multi-Purpose Toys
Maybe you’re still working from home full-time, or you’re starting to have to go back into the office after being at home for weeks. Grab a KONG from your local store to help keep your dog busy while you Zoom! Or, if your dog was just getting used to you being around all the time, prepare a stuffed KONG for your dog before you leave for the day to keep any separation anxiety at bay. Then, when you get home (or if you need to get off the couch and take a break), your KONG will double as a fun, bouncing fetch toy! Your local pet expert can make a recommendation based on your dog’s size, age, and chewing style (try calling them to ask for advice!).

While a lot is unknown about what the future holds, we do know that by coming together (while six feet apart!) and supporting local businesses, we can help do the most good for our pets, and for our communities.

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