pexels photo 5697257MARYVILLE – To patronize small businesses during the pandemic, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) and State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) are encouraging Metro East residents to shop small this holiday season to support local businesses.

“The money you spend at a local business stays within our town and community, fostering our local economies,” Belt said. “This holiday season, I urge residents to shop locally to help support our local businesses during this difficult time and encourage economic growth in our community.”

“As the holiday season approaches, I want to remind residents of the special, unique services and gifts the Metro East small business community provides,” Crowe said. “By supporting small businesses, we can help our friends and neighbors in this difficult time while investing in our local economies.”

For those who would prefer to shop from home during the pandemic, there are options beyond brick-and-mortar stores. Belt and Crowe urge residents to support small businesses however they can, including by shopping online, ordering carry out from a locally owned restaurant or buying a gift card for a friend.

Additionally, if finances are tight, community members can still give businesses a boost by engaging with their social media channels, referring friends and leaving positive reviews online.

Belt and Crowe would also like to remind struggling small businesses that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has launched the second round of the Business Interruption Grant program, which will distribute $220 million to small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic, including movie theaters, event venues, hotels and more. Learn more and apply here.