While summertime on the Cape and Islands is teeming with activity, the winter can be quiet. It is also a perfect time to support local businesses on Cape Cod and Islands. Businesses can have a tough time in the cold, dark months of winter. There’s so much less tourist traffic, fewer seasonal residents, and shorter days. Some just can’t make it work year-round, and close for the winter months.
Throw in a couple years of global pandemic with safety precautions, concerned shoppers, and less tourism and you’ll find that local businesses are having a tough time! All these factors make it all the more important to support local businesses on Cape Cod and the Islands that do stay open. They make winter life on the Cape and Islands not only possible but enjoyable!
Let’s take a look at 10 Great Ways to Support Local Businesses on Cape Cod and the Islands in the Winter:
- Visit local farmers markets
- Local bookstores
- Local artists gift cards- thank you notes from the holidays, new year’s greetings, or looking ahead to valentine’s day!
- Plan to try out a different local restaurant each week
- Or try to find local alternatives to big chain stores
1. Buy Gift Certificates
Consider buying a gift certificate from your favorite restaurant or shop on Cape Cod and the Islands. You can give gift certificates to friends and family, use them yourself or hang onto them until things are looking up. One of my favorites as a kid was getting a gift certificate to a local bookstore!
2. Gift Experiences
Though the holidays have passed for this year, consider gifting friends and family an experience or excursion with a local Cape Cod, Plymouth, Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard company for their birthday or a special occasion! Your dad would enjoy a fishing charter, or your aunt would love a stand-up paddle board tour! There are a ton of amazing tours and excursions on Cape Cod and the Islands that any local, vacationer, or summer resident would love!
3. Eat Out or Get Weekly Takeout from Local Restaurants
With pandemic related restrictions, restaurants have been having a tough time! While the virus continues to disrupt our lives, many establishments have adapted to have quaint and fun outdoor dining options, and most offer take out if you’d rather dine in the safety and comfort of your own home. Plan to get food from a local non-chain restaurant once a week, once a month, or whatever works for you!
4. Drink Local
In addition to the many great restaurants on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Plymouth, there are also lots of great establishments offering local drinks! Buy straight from the brewery, vineyard, or distillery!
Great options for beer include Cape Cod Beer, Barnstable Brewing, Devil’s Purse Brewing, Tree House Brewing Company, Naukabout Brewery and Taproom, Hog Island Beer Co., Bad Martha’s, Aquatic Brewing, Provincetown Brewing Co, Cisco Brewers, Second Wind Brewing, Hog Island Beer Co, and Mayflower Brewing.
Wine and liquor enthusiasts should keep an eye out for Cape Cod Winery, Truro Vineyards, first Crush Winery, Nantucket Vineyard, Cape & Islands Distillers, Dirty Water Distillery, Triple Eight Distillery,
5. Tip Well
When dining or drinking out, be sure to tip generously. Waitstaff and servers are working in tough conditions these days. Not only have they been working through the pandemic, taking a risk with their own health to feed us, many restaurants and bars are short staffed these days, making the jobs of those in the service industry even more challenging. So, show your gratitude in your gratuity!
6. Be Kind
Naturally following the advice to tip well, be sure to act well too! Whether it’s in the grocery store, in a restaurant, at a craft fair, or any other shop, be sure to be kind to those around you. Treat employees and other customers with compassion, and help the community come together to overcome this challenging time!
7. CSAs and Local Farm Markets
When looking to eat local, beyond restaurants look to local farms for fresh produce. While it’s tough to find this time of year, the Orleans Farmers Market has a winter version, and some farm shops, like the Cape Abilities Farm Market remain open.
Winter is also a great time to look to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs help small farms by providing funding before the spring season when seeds and other inputs need to be purchased. Members of a CSA often receive a weekly box of local produce that changes seasonally. It’s a great way to support a local business, get closer to your food, and support the local economy.
8. Visit Local Bookstores
While it’s all too easy to go online to find whatever book you’re looking for an unbelievable price, the small independent bookstores on the Cape, Plymouth, and Islands offer a personal touch and great experience. Chat with the shop worker about the best books you’ve read recently, get great recommendations, and get some help picking out a book for those hard to buy for readers of all ages!
9. Visit Local Thrift Shops
If you’re looking for a great time, and a shopping scavenger hunt for a great cause, visit some of the great thrift shops in the region. Buying second hand is great for the environment and keeps perfectly good clothing out of landfills. It’s also a fun way to cultivate a unique style! In addition, lots of thrift shops support non-profit and other charitable organizations to fund their missions.
10. Support Local Artists and Artisans
Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Plymouth have long been home to artists. These folks make a wide range of products, from stunning paintings to jewelry, and other goods.
Support them by browsing galleries and studios and checking out vendors at craft fairs and artists shanties in Hyannis and artist cottages in Orleans. For more great options, check out Love Live Local, an organization working to support local businesses on Cape Cod.