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During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, newspapers are in full force for our local businesses

During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, newspapers are in full force for our local businesses

It’s game on.

Small and medium local businesses are truly the backbone of our communities. For hundreds of years, local newspapers have had a partnership with the local business community of which we are part.

Florida businesses like the rest of the country have come to a screeching halt and are feeling the loss of their customer base every day. Our Florida Press Association members and their sales teams are working closely with businesses to help them with ideas to change their messaging during difficult times, or to simply remind citizens of their long-standing relevance to the communities they serve, day in and day out.  It’s not just about promoting products and services that residents have come to expect from local businesses, it’s more about the contributions that these businesses bring to their communities as they have woven themselves into the fabric of the local economy.

During this unexpected crisis, our newspaper teams can bring local businesses creative ideas that engage local residents when delivered through our member’s print and digital reach and frequency programs, and by driving awareness and results like no other media.

On the business front:

  • Restaurants must close and are unsure when patrons will pass through their doors once again.
  • Downtown storefronts, including the many mom-and-pop operations that rely on heavy foot traffic, are struggling with their bottom lines. These businesses include some of our smaller daily and weekly news operations.

So now is a good time for all of us to show a united front of support for our local businesses. Just as news organizations are doing everything we can to bring you up-to-date news and information, helping to keep Floridians informed and safe through this health crisis, we also feel just as passionate about supporting our local Florida business communities.

When was the last time you saw the Amazon name on a local Little League uniform?  Never.

Florida newspapers and their local readers have been there for local businesses through thick and thin, and we are there for them now.

These ideas include:

  • Grabbing takeout or getting delivery from a local restaurant today.
  • Visiting your favorite LOCAL retail store’s website, considering purchasing gift cards for yourself and others to keep some money flowing to their bottom lines.
  • Support a community gym and take virtual online yoga/fitness classes.
  • Buying gift cards from hair and nail salons, restaurants and bars, and other local businesses we want to be there for us once the crisis has passed.
  • If you’re shopping online for things you’ll need while in self-quarantine, seeking out local businesses to make these purchases locally. Some may still deliver to you.
  • If you use a service provider who won’t be needed or can’t provide that service right now, considering paying the person or company regardless. Alternatively, provide some acknowledgement so they’ll be there for you again when this pandemic is over.

Also, while visiting the websites of your favorite local businesses, please notice that many are offering discounts or telling their customers how they can assist. Many businesses are getting creative and changing their commercial models already to offer services remotely or shipping their merchandise to their customers.

Our 162 newspaper members are proud to be essential business partners for the State of Florida.

Our wish – like yours – is that we can return to a somewhat more normal life soon.

Until then, if you’re a business owner, let your local daily newspaper or weekly news source help you get your message out and the cash flow moving in the right direction.  If you’re a loyal reader, let’s support your local businesses in any way we can right now!

Be well. Be safe.

 

Jim Fogler is the President and CEO of the Florida Press Association and Intersect Media Solutions.


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This op-ed may be republished in FPA member newspapers.

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