We’ve talked about how you can help support local businesses while social distancing, like buying gift cards and ordering takeout.

We showed a behind-the-scenes glance at what local businesses are facing, like letting go of most of their employees or postponing opening a new store.

Corri Smith and Garrett Tichy took it a step further.

Enter Support Local or Else (SLOE), a website dedicated to showcasing local businesses, deals and how to support them. Smith, founder of PR and marketing consultancy Black Wednesday, and Tichy, owner of Hygge coworking and co-owner of That’s Novel Books, created the site as a freeway for local businesses to engage with people to garner support.

“I have been stressed to the max, and I know I’m in good company,” Smith said. “Black Wednesday has lost clients, restaurants are shutting down, stores are closing. Small businesses are suffering.”

Smith said she first came up with the idea over the weekend. The name was chosen as “or else” because it has “historically been a threat, or a bad omen, meaning there will be consequences, and it’s true,” Smith said. “I, myself have a sort of offbeat character, as does Black Wednesday; so it’s a little dark, but it’s real.

“Everyone has been in his/her own crisis mode and operating in their own silos. I was trying to come up with a way to bring things into one place so people could get a bigger picture of how to help,” she said.


Local businesses can submit a form through the site to be listed as soon as it’s received. All that’s required is that the business has a promotion, deal or way for people to support them remotely or in the future.

Smith teamed up with Tichy, her good friend, as soon as she came up with the idea on Sunday.

“I asked [Tichy] his recommendation on how to build a site. No questions asked, he had a site up within a few hours,” Smith said. “We’ve been working diligently to spread the word and, more tediously, upload the listings as they come in.”

“I like to move quickly when there’s an opportunity to do something impactful and when it’s working alongside awesome people,” Tichy said. “I’ve known Corri a long time, and she has an incredible track record for executing at 100%, so partnering up was an easy decision. Then, considering everything that’s happening, it seemed like the least we could do to support a ton of businesses through this.”

“We want this to be as robust as possible during a time when they/we/I need all the support they/we/I can get,” Smith said. “We already have brands like SycamoreGirl TribeBardoGlory Days Apparel and UpDog Kombucha listed, with more coming in.”

Smith said local businesses are being affected by more than just a loss of sales.

“They are laying off staff, pushing loyal team members into their own dilemmas; they may lose those people forever,” she said.

On top of that, businesses will lose money, not just projected revenue, while still covering overhead costs.

“They are losing whatever savings they have, having to use liquid funds or worse, loans to backfill their resources,” Smith said. “Some businesses will close entirely, especially newer ones that haven’t hit their sweet spot of business operations and revenue-building to have funds to endure the loss of a business.”

She warns that these small businesses will feel the effects for the next 12-18 months and beyond.

So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’m grateful that people care, appreciate it and are actually using it as a resource,” Tichy said. “Building a thing isn’t difficult, but getting people to engage it can be challenging. Turns out, people are using it, which is huge.”

“Most small businesses are operating at a marketing budget of $0, so to have an additional platform in SLOE to point to them is helpful,” Smith said. “We are seeing lots of submissions, lots of traffic on the site and businesses telling us they are making money off the site. It’s so so so exciting.”

Local businesses agree.

original article via Charlotte Observer