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Shop Local, Shop Safe

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

In each of my recent columns since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I’ve mentioned ways that you not only can support local businesses, but if you’re a local business owner, can also help your business. I want to take this opportunity to mention two more ways to help—one this week and one next week. Now, more than ever, this is of the utmost importance, with our economy as it is right now.

This week, I want to mention a new twist on an established theme. We’re partnering with the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce on a “Shop Local – Shop Safe” campaign that will be rolled out shortly.

You can do certain things to help right now, in addition to the things you can do when the economy opens up again.

Put your emphasis on supporting local businesses. For the essential businesses that are open now, shop at those businesses. They need that support and your patronage right now. This is a key way to keep our businesses—especially, our smaller businesses, from closing, if the restrictions last much longer. Also, remember the non-essential businesses that are closed now, but are due to open when pandemic restrictions are lifted. Make it your intention to shop them, when they reopen. On a larger scale, businesses—small shops or big-box stores and chains—employ local and area people. So, in several ways, you will be helping your neighbors.

We also want you to shop safe. Follow the social distancing guidelines. Where you can order or purchase by phone or e-mail, do that. If it’s a takeout, do that. If you can go into the business, make sure to follow the COVID-19 guidelines. Much of this, I’m sure, will still be in effect—to a degree—when the restrictions are lifted.

As we roll this out further, we’ll keep you posted on later developments.

Here’s a reminder to go to the home page of our website—The—for links to initiatives to help our local businesses during these hard economic times.

• Take a simple test to determine for which COVID-19 relief programs your business could be eligible. We work hard every day learning about and working on programs to keep businesses up and running, as well as solvent, during this time when help is needed.

• Be sure to take the online pledge through Main Street Vineland and the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce to support your local businesses—both on The Ave and throughout the community. We’re urging you to pledge that you’ll give local businesses your patronage and support. This sends the powerful message that the economic health or local businesses in OUR economic health. Taking the online pledge is easy. Just visit Main Street Vineland’s website at or the Facebook page (

• The “Dine The Ave” Restaurant Gift Card Giveaway has ended and the winners of the Gift Card Giveaway will be announced in next week’s column. I want to thank, meanwhile, New Jersey’s Heartland for partnering with us on the giveaway promotion. I also want thank Century Savings Bank, our sponsor of this initiative, for their generous funding of the gift cards. Watch next week for news on our new initiative.

Remember that Main Street Vineland is here to help. In the spirit of social distancing and respecting the safety of our staff, our office is currently closed to walk-in public but we are still working every day. We regularly post information and updates on our website and Facebook page. n

Last week’s issue included an incomplete Board of Directors. The Board includes Chairperson Brian Lankin, Vice-Chairperson Dennis Ingraldi, and Corresponding Secretary/Treasurer Reginald Johnson, as well as Edgar Calderon, Macleod Carré, Lizzy Kennedy, Hernando Perez, Caleb Soto, and City Council Liaison Paul Spinelli.

On The Ave