Charlotte launches the “Open for Business” online directory
The City of Charlotte has launched an “Open for Business” directory offering small businesses another way to reach customers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, the city launched the Open for Business Dashboard, an interactive online map and directory of more than 300 small businesses in Charlotte that are still open amid the COVID-19 and stay-at-home crisis. according to a press release.
“The success of this Open for Business Dashboard depends on small businesses signing up and our residents using this tool to support those businesses,” said Tracy Dodson, Deputy City Manager and Chief Development Officer. economic. “Now it’s up to all of us to continue to spread the word and support these businesses.”
The dashboard is available on the city’s Small Business Resources webpage and on the CLT+ mobile app.
It displays the location of the business along with information such as hours, delivery options and offers, according to the statement. Dashboard users can sort businesses by type and location.
The city’s stay-at-home order went into effect May 26, closing several nonessential businesses and banning large group gatherings until April 29. Some businesses can stay open if they follow social distancing requirements, according to the order.
Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted about the new platform on Friday and Tuesday, urging businesses to apply to be added.
“It’s huge for us”
On Wednesday, the list included 13 categories, such as auto repair, florists, food and drink, hardware, health and beauty, home services, marketing and advertising.
Fishy Fish Seafood Market on South Boulevard has its hours and phone number. Store manager Vi Zuong said the nearly nine-year-old market is owned by her father, Tom Ngo, and has three employees.
“We hope this will help small businesses during this time,” Zuong said of the city’s initiative.
Acting Out Studio owner Kamber Hejlick said the city offering this is “huge”.
“A lot of businesses have suffered and people don’t know what’s open,” she said. “We can run our classes online, so that’s huge for us. Our doors aren’t open, but we’re operating as we were before, virtually.
Hejlick has owned the South Charlotte studio for 10 years and has 16 employees. She said she’s sent in several applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program aimed at helping small businesses, but hasn’t heard anything yet.
The City Dashboard is important for giving small businesses exposure to “a new, different normal.”
“A lot of small businesses thought they were going to get help and they’re not,” Hejlick said. “Helping small businesses is more important than ever.”
Southern Blossom Florist owner Giovy Buyers said she hasn’t received federal support, but can’t wait because bills are coming due.
“I appreciate the city giving us the platform to tell customers that we can always help you,” Buyers said.
She works closely with other businesses, like farmers who need to sell flowers, and sees this time as an opportunity to help others. “Little guys, we have to help each other and we can be strong together.”
Shoppers said the 13-year-old store was open for delivery only. “I don’t want to endanger other people’s health,” she said.
A flower delivery can be uplifting at this time. “My business is very personal and this is a time when people want to send flowers to a family member or neighbor,” Buyers said.
The “Charlotte Open for Business” logos may be displayed in stores and on social media, depending on the city.
Businesses can apply to be included in the city’s open data portal. Businesses that have temporarily closed can also submit information to be included when the stay-at-home order is lifted.
This story was originally published April 22, 2020 3:05 p.m.