Local businesses will be hit the hardest by the coronavirus restrictions. As shoppers go online and stay at home small cafes, bakeries and restaurants are losing customers. Matt Tomkin, digital marketing specialist from Bolton, has decided to do something and help small businesses by connecting them with customers online.
Save a Small Business is a website that allows local shops and restaurants to offer vouchers or pre-paid food and drinks to customers who would like to help them survive. The idea is simple - small retailers fill in a form on the platform to say what they offer. After that they could be found by local residents who are willing to prepay for a drink or food and get it later when shops are open.
This allows small businesses to keep going during the outbreak even if they cannot provide the same level of service at the moment.
“Pay forward a coffee, a brownie or just buy some vouchers to help ease the cashflow worries of some of the most affected businesses around,” explains Matt. Different companies offer different ways - some have extended their voucher schemes until the end of the year, for example.
The website started on Wednesday 18th March and has already been visited by nearly 500 people. Nearly 20 businesses have registered, including local cafes and larger organisations who want to find a way to distribute their goods.
“It's not the most polished website in the world but it will hopefully help some of the small businesses in Bolton along with others further afield over time to survive the next few weeks/months!” adds Matt.
The idea came after he saw a post on social media and realised there are small firms who are trying to be innovative in the current environment and keep going, but have little to no exposure. ‘I thought people need to know about this and get support with a centralised platform,’ Matt continues. He is not taking any earnings out of what is being processed on the website. Currently the website covers Manchester, Bolton, Bury, and Preston, but more towns and businesses are contacting Matt.