CLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Small businesses are becoming a big focus as the pandemic is causing a tremendous strain on local small businesses. Some new statistics show that many won’t survive. A movement is happening right here in Tampa Bay aimed at helping revive those struggling businesses.

The movement is called, Save Our Town. Michael Plummer, Jr., owner of Our Town America, a local marketing company headquartered in Clearwater, Florida aims to continue connecting small local businesses with new Florida residents that might not otherwise have a chance to explore their new neighborhood due to the pandemic.

“It’s not like they’re walking around, exploring their community as they used to. I mean, they’re [leaving] their house with a destination in mind, ‘I’m going here, going to do that,” said Plummer.

“We have people who have been with us for years, decades, and they’re having to close their doors. It’s a struggle out there for every type of business. Every type of business, someone’s taking a hit,” said Plummer.

According to Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report, as of mid-June, nearly 140,000 businesses closed nationwide since March 1, 2020. Of all business closures, 41% of them were permanent.

“PoFolks restaurant, right off 34th. It’s just a great restaurant ran by good people and they’ve taken a heck of a hit. Why? People just aren’t dining out the same way,” Plummer related. And Carriage Cleaners, a dry cleaning service in Seminole that Plummer says lost 80% of their business in the first few weeks. “Great, family-owned people. Super nice and, think about it, people aren’t dressing up, going out as they used to. That’s just one of those industries you wouldn’t naturally think of.”

Moved by the toll the pandemic has taken on his peers, Plummer sought to utilize his strengths to help guide new strategy for his clients. Among other finer points, Covid-centric thinking seems to be a key to success, “Let them know you’re clean. Those are other issues that are coming up. People are looking for, ‘are they clean, standing up to regulations, are they doing curb-side now, delivery, pick-up?’.”

Plummer also suggests to patrons not wanting to watch their favorite local businesses disappear, “Shop now. Shop early for the holidays. Buy gift cards for local restaurants. While you’re at those restaurants, leave a tip. Consider paying your gym membership. They’ve taken a heck of a hit as well.”

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