Businesses in downtown Boise and Nampa are seeking ways to engage with customers digitally as customers to shelter inside their home to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
The Downtown Boise Association announced via email that it will host its first virtual First Thursday on April 2, when patrons can engage with local business online rather than in public.
Mustard Seed, a family-owned home decor business in downtown Nampa, also announced it was opening its first online store.
Mustard Seed opened the online store to allow its customers to purchase items from the safety of their homes. Although Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling has not yet made any orders to close businesses in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, co-owner Rachelle Chavez said she’s still noticed a drop in customers within the last few weeks.
In response, Chavez said Mustard Seed reduced its business hours to three hours a day and started offering curbside pickup and delivery options. According to an email sent to their customers, all furniture deliveries in Nampa are free.
“We know that with all of you on our side, we’ll weather this storm and come out on the other end stronger than ever,” Mustard Seed employees said in the email.
Other Nampa businesses, including Two Olds Cats In a Barn Mercantile and Village Antiques, are temporarily closed in the wake of the pandemic. Some businesses such as Indigo Bird Home Goods and Utter Clutter are closed to the public and are taking online or phone orders. A Beautiful Mess and The Thrifty Owl are open by appointment only, according to the email.
The Downtown Boise Association said many of Boise’s retailers also have online stores, and other businesses have options to purchase items remotely via phone, FaceTime or other means. The email advised patrons to purchase gift cards as a way to support local businesses, and encouraged customers to tip restaurants the same for pickup or delivery orders as they would for dine-in service.
Chavez also suggested people follow and share posts from their favorite local businesses on social media to support them during this period. She said the Downtown Nampa Facebook page has been very active in spreading the word about business activity.
“The smallest thing can really make a difference,” Chavez said.