WINSTON-SALEM, N.C — Many downtown businesses and retail stores suffered economically when Business 40 was closed for the long-awaited upgrades. Once traffic was able to flow freely through downtown again the pandemic started.
“Soon as Business 40 opened up, a month later COVID hit,” said Theresa Burton, of Wood and Thread Boutique. The double hits forced her to scale back her business. She stopped selling home goods and furniture and now sticks solely to women’s apparel and gifts. “It’s hard because people are having to make budget cuts in their household.”
To help Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership launched a new effort called the “Takeout Pledge” that’s taken off in other cities. It’s a silent promise to shop locally twice a week from local retail and restaurants.
“We still do a lot of takeout, but we got a lot of repeat business,” said Nick Shea, the general manager of Young Cardinal. The restaurant on Fourth Street had just opened when the pandemic hit. “Our first two weeks were extremely busy, then the shutdown and we went strictly to takeout, family meals and started selling groceries.”
The pledge also encourages people who can’t get out to shop to have items delivered, buy gift cards and tip a little more when possible.
“We do have a few people that come in and get gift cards for friends,” Shea said.
Shoppers are also encouraged to tell everyone on social media with pictures and videos and use the hashtag #TakeOutPledgeWS because word of mouth remains the best form of advertisement.
“Tell your friends about it, share your story, if you had a great experience pass it on,” said Burton.