Vienna Leaders Talk Tips for Supporting Local Businesses

In a discussion last night (Tuesday) with Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert, several business and economic leaders talked about how locals could show support for their businesses, and how some businesses could do a better job of bringing in customers.

The simplest, and most obvious answer, was for locals to shop local when they can rather than buying through a company like Amazon. Jim Brooke, Town Business Liaison Committee chair, said people should also be more conscious now of taking the time to leave positive reviews online.

“Talk about local businesses on social media, leave positive Yelp reviews for local businesses,” Brooke said. “It’s easy to shop online, but if you want to have brick and mortar businesses in your community, you have to shop at them sometimes.”

Some industries have fared better than others in the pandemic, and Brooke said it’s particularly important to show support for the hardest hit, personal service businesses.

“Construction businesses and real estate have been doing pretty well, but businesses that are more intimate like hair stylists, anything that involves close interaction with people, aren’t doing very well,” Brooke said. “For my business and the people I work with, hospitality industry is really in trouble. Especially caterers, party planners, or party venues.”

It was a somewhat personal discussion for Vienna Business Association Chairman of the Board Jeff Bollettino, who also runs School of Rock Vienna (111 Center Street S). When the pandemic started, Bollettino said they had to suspend group rehearsals and switch to online only. Bollettino credited parents in the program with helping them survive through the worst of the shutdown.

“With the support of the parents, which is very important in this working, we were able to transition most lessons and hold onto most students with less revenue,” Bollettino said. “That worked very well, mostly because we communicated a lot and made sure teachers knew how to do it. We had a systemwide approach.”

Business is down for School of Rock, but it’s not as bad as other similar programs have been hit. Bollettino said when they did start having in-person concerts and such again, they had to take precautions like having parents “attend” the concert from across the street from where the students were playing.

With some signs of recovery, Bollettino said it’s time for people who were avoiding commercial interactions to start considering what locations could be patronized in a healthy and safe way.

“Get out and use businesses,” Bollettino said. “Support the businesses you want to see in business stay. I understand some people don’t feel safe, but don’t assume businesses don’t have solutions. Check and see. Help businesses with their cash flow.”

For businesses, Bollettino said it’s important to make hygiene and sanitation very front and center in how the stores and restaurants present themselves, including cleaning in front of customers.

“You should take every precaution and have to communicate it liberally so people get the message that you’re taking this seriously,” Bollettino said. “In customer’s minds they’re thinking ‘I know this business is conforming, but how seriously are they taking it…’ I’ve been in businesses where they’re conforming but it’s not obvious and it hurts.”

But while Vienna is gradually recovering from the pandemic, Town Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou emphasized that the health crisis is likely to continue into next year, so businesses who had been hoping to wait the situation out will need to adjust.

“We’re anticipating the health crisis to continue into 2021 and we want to be able to help our business community pivot,” Monkou said.

Monkou said businesses should check at the federal, state and local levels to see what sort of grants or support are being offered. For some industries, Monkou said it could be worthwhile to look at national resources and check in with other companies or associations in the same field to see what they are doing.

“There are people you can talk to who speak your language,” Monkou said.

Recent Stories

The Prosperity Business Campus owner has suggested turning it into a mixed-use neighborhood (via Fairfax County) The Mosaic District has been declared a rousing success by Fairfax County, but between…

This sponsored column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road in Arlington). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Experience Arrowine’s Tastings & Events. Have…

A rendering of the duplexes proposed to replace the Vienna Courts condos (via Town of Vienna) The Vienna Courts offices will officially be replaced with residential condominiums. The Vienna Town…

Morning Notes

Trees lit up for the winter holidays illuminate the Mosaic District amid nighttime fog (photo by Susan Woolsey) Alexandria Motel Demolished — “The Alexandria Motel at 6411 Richmond Highway was…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


Subscribe to our mailing list