Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

So many things are out of our control. The impact of a quickly spreading virus? Yep, that’s top of the list. Unfortunately, among the hardest hit by these unexpected downturns are the small, local businesses we know and love. Now more than ever, shopping locally to sustain your favorite entrepreneurs is important. Here are some suggestions:

More Asian Food, Please

If you’re healthy and able to eat out, try to steer your dollars toward restaurants serving up your favorite Asian dishes: They’re among businesses impacted most severely by the novel coronavirus. We probably don’t need to remind you, but Silk Thai has some of the best Thai food around (yep, you see them year after year in our sister publication’s Best Of coverage). We’re also big fans of Pho King in Hilltop, Narai Asian Cuisine in Olympia, and Kwan Tip Thai in Federal Way. (Tip: If you have a gluten allergy, Mio Sushi at Point Ruston should be your go-to: They use gluten-free sauce!) You probably have your own favorites — just don’t forget to show them extra love!

Market Blues

Tacoma loves our many markets, and the many vendors — from food trucks to artists — love Tacoma back. With some big show cancellations like the Fieldhouse Flea Market at the University of Puget Sound and the upcoming Tacoma Night Markets at Alma Mater and the Museum of Glass, a lot of local makers are feeling the squeeze. If you’re able, now is a great time to order from peoples’ online stores to help keep them afloat.

  • Jewelry: We love happy fox studio jewelry made by Tacoma resident Alison Bishins from reclaimed materials. Those looking for minimalistic pieces that are quirky and environmentally friendly should definitely check it out. Plus, you can buy things straight through Instagram, making it a super-easy business to support remotely. Also check out: Magpie Mouse Studios, Squirrel vs Coyote, and Splendor and Stone
  • Clothes: Cocobolo has a wide selection of wonderfully curated vintage clothes, as well as locally made pieces that are high-quality, beautiful, and built to last. The women-owned business has a great brick-and-mortar store in downtown Tacoma, but their online shop is also constantly updated, and story sales on Instagram make it easy to snag whatever latest piece you’ve have your eye on. Also check out: Urban Xchange, Beleza Ropa, and Good Vibes Vintage & Resale
  • Candles: If you’re going to be spending more time at home, might as well cozy it up, right? We’re big fans of En Light Candle Co., which uses pure soy wax and scented oils that are all phthalate free. They also have an option to sign up for a monthly candle subscription box. Also check out: Flat Circle Candle Co., Defiant Candle Co., and Wax and Wool Etc.
  • Food: If you’ve never had Jan Parker Cookery’s locally famous Filipino food, you seriously are missing out. She’ll be at the Proctor Farmers Market tomorrow, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — the farmers market, like grocery stores and other retail spaces, is not confined by Gov. Jay Inslee’s ban on events with more than 250 people. If you don’t want to be in a public space, you can sign up for a private cooking class or check out one of her recipes online.
  • Other cool stuff: Local makers are creating wonderful things with their hands in the South Sound left and right, from intricate and snarky cross stitch creations (koezee) and unexpected letter press art (The Arts & Crafts Press) to scientifically accurate botanical paintings (Kiri Bolles Art) and encouraging drawings printed on t-shirts, bags, and more (Lovesome Dove).

A Calm Escape

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Yoga Wild, the relatively young yoga company that makes the practice accessible to all through a generous pay scale, multiple location offerings, and intentional workshops on race and gender. Sign up for one of its classes if you need to take an hour for yourself to calm down after a long day of working from home. If you’re unable to leave your house, you can still buy a gift card, t-shirt, therapy ball, and/or beanie on its website to help them out. (Tip: Use this method to support all of your favorite service-oriented companies: Even if you can’t physically go out and enjoy them, they often have merchandise or gift cards available that will help to keep them afloat.)

A Night Out

We love you, The Grand Cinema! Another Best Of favorite year after year, this nonprofit movie theater is simply the best. Right now, it’s only open through Monday, March 16 and filling theaters to 50 percent capacity to allow for social distancing. Despite its adopted policies to deep clean all spaces and monitor employees and volunteers for symptoms, the theater announced Friday that it would be temporarily closing to further slow the spread of the virus. We’ll be getting our popcorn fix in before Monday, trying to decide on films like Emma, Wendy, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Two special screening will be exemptions from the closure: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears — playing Friday, March 20; Saturday, March 21; and Tuesday, March 24 — as well as Fantastic Fungi — playing Tuesday, March 26. It’s scheduled to reopen in May, but consider donating to this nonprofit community fixture in the meantime.

Small Business Spotlight

We want to continue to highlight the local companies that make our community great, so South Sound Business is launching a new, weekly section called “Small Business Spotlight.” If you are a small business owner or are a member of a small business that is interested in being featured in this new section, email with your contact information and a brief description of your company.