Small Businesses Taking Big Steps

The coronavirus has been tough for us all, but small businesses have been hit especially hard. Now more than ever, it’s important to shop local and support each other.

Here are seven Cincinnati businesses who’ve gotten creative to stay connected and engaged during this tumultuous time.

Blooms and Berries

This Loveland gem is well-known for its eponymous “blooms,” and spring just isn’t the same without a visit. So, Blooms & Berries did what it does best, getting creative to work within the stay-at-home challenges. The farm enhanced and expanded its online ordering system, offering an easy-to-use experience wherein patrons could select plants, seeds, flowers — even their world-famous cookies! — for convenient curbside pickup.

Blue Manatee Literacy Project

This spring, storefronts closed but online stores remained open, making it easy shop from home. For Cincy parents wanting to do some good while they filled their carts, Blue Manatee Literacy Project (BMLP) is the place to go. Their buy-a-book-give-a-book program has been a blessing for local schools, giving back to the community in an unprecedented way. In addition to offering special web sales, BMLP offered in-store pickup and curbside delivery. This beloved bookstore also kept story time going via social media, hosting virtual story times twice a week.

Cincy Shirts

Cincy Shirts is a champion of local businesses small and large, and this spring, the tee titan went the extra mile in the name of coronavirus support. Sales from their “Strength in Unity” shirt benefited the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati Emergency Response Fund (the Y transformed 11 of their locations into Critical Care Personnel Program sites); “Let Ohio Handle It” — a reference to Governor DeWine’s swift COVID-19 response — benefitted the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund; and the “Carry On, Carry Out” tee featured Cincy’s iconic Genius of Water statue holding carryout bags in support of the Virtual Taste of Cincinnati. With Cincy Shirts, you can literally wear your Cincinnati pride on your sleeve.

Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati’s most beloved nonprofit was deeply affected by COVID-19, most notably with the cancellation of Zoo Blooms. Each spring, Cincinnatians flock to the Zoo to admire a colorful kaleidoscope of hundreds of thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and blooms. It’s an event Cincinnatians look forward to every year, so the Zoo got creative and decided to share the beauty, bringing the blooms into homes via virtual tours, and delivering real flowers to hospitals and nursing homes. This beautiful and generous gesture was much appreciated by the community.

Good Pie Y’all

Bars and restaurants closed to in-house dining, but many offered carry out and delivery options. And Good Pie Y’all was here to dish up good, old-fashioned comfort food. Run by Cincy mom Heather Wolper, not only are these pies to-die-for, but a portion of all Good Pie proceeds are donated to local charities. As Cincinnati parents adjusted to becoming substitute teachers this spring, Heather’s pies provided a quick and comforting home-cooked meal. In addition to amping up online orders, Heather also hosted weekly baking tutorials on Facebook Live, giving Cincinnati parents and kids the skills needed to bake up some love at home.

King Arthur’s Court Toys

King Arthur’s Court Toys is known for their incredible customer service, and that didn’t stop just because its doors (temporarily) closed. Recognizing that parents needed fun toys and games more than ever before, King Arthur’s Court appointed a certified Toy Specialist to be on standby to provide assistance in selecting the perfect toy, gift, puzzle or craft. As always, King Arthur’s Court offered FREE gift wrap, making that new toy even more special.

Rock-a-Fellas Pizza

Family-owned Rock-A-Fellas Pizza rolled with the stay-at-home punches, switching to curbside pickup and local delivery, with frozen “take-and-bake” pizzas proving especially life-saving for those long days at home. And for Cincy parents looking to get their kids involved in some dinner prep: Rock-A-Fellas $4 at-home pizza kits! This Sharonville gem also extended its flour-dusted hands to the community this spring, providing meals for 16 struggling families, including a single mother with seven foster kids. Rock-a-Fellas is small business gumption at its finest.

Cincinnati is a city that cares, and this spring, small businesses stepped up, switched gears and got creative to do big things for the community.

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