Carey students pitch in to support Baltimore's small business community.
In the midst of the uncertainty and upheaval surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, three Johns Hopkins Carey Business School students have launched an intrepid response, not just to support small businesses in their Canton (Southeast Baltimore) neighborhood, but throughout the city.
“Last week when restaurants and businesses had to close down indefinitely, we wanted to find a way to support our favorite local places,” explained Tai. “I found a pre-meal ordering initiative in Japan which I thought we could adapt to our community. We then talked with several business owners about developing a platform that would best suit their needs as well and developed Stand By Baltimore.”
Those businesses, in turn, promoted the effort among their Small Business Community on Facebook.
"We'd like Stand By Baltimore to evolve as the needs of small business and their customers shift over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, buying multiple gift cards or buying them every week is one way to ensure that your favorite restaurant or store receives sustainable cash flow."
Priyanka Mysore, (MBA/MPH ’20)
The result is a newly created website, www.standbybaltimore.com, which lists participating businesses throughout Baltimore City where area residents can purchase gift cards to redeem either immediately (if the business is open) or once the crisis has resolved. In all, more than 50 (and counting) businesses, ranging from restaurants to clothing stores, hair salons to gift shops, are listed on the site, with links to the businesses’ websites and well as to purchasing gift cards. Baltimore, often cited for its thriving and diverse neighborhoods, is well represented, with Canton, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Riverside, Hampden, Charles Village, and Mt. Washington as just a few of the communities with participating businesses.
Not only does the site aggregate a list of businesses that offer gift card options, it also provides instructions for those that currently do not feature that capability to market themselves in this fashion.
"We're constantly thinking of ways to improve what the platform can offer,” said Mysore. “We'd like Stand By Baltimore to evolve as the needs of small business and their customers shift over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, buying multiple gift cards or buying them every week is one way to ensure that your favorite restaurant or store receives sustainable cash flow."
Added Yong, “We want to equip all businesses with the same capabilities to offer gift cards and provide another marketing opportunity for everyone. Next steps are to promote Stand By Baltimore even further and collect more restaurant and store listings.”