Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the restaurant experience. Whether it’s trying new foods, enjoying new flavors, and gaining inspiration for my own home cooking from the places that I eat, I always am enamored. As my dad often says “Oh, Elizabeth doesn’t just eat, she dines.” This was only amplified by moving to Indianapolis and immersing myself into the food/restaurant scene here. I loved supporting my favorite local coffee shops, bakeries, cafes, and restaurants, which quickly lead to the choice to seek out other small businesses to support for other lifestyle needs and ultimately started working for a small business as well. We are so lucky to have a community of small and independent local businesses here in Indy that create such a vibrant culture for our city.

As the pandemic rushed into our society, it was incredibly difficult to see the places and people I’ve come to know and love make the painful decision to shut down or extremely limit their services. Now more than ever, it is essential for us to continue to support our local small and independent businesses through this time.

When we endorse small businesses in our community, we sub sequentially invest in community development in Indianapolis. It’s been found over the past few years that small businesses drive job growth and have a bigger impact on job creation in our community, which increases the livelihood of Indianapolis citizens. Small local businesses also support not only each other, but nonprofits as well an incredible 250% more than large corporations or chains, according to economics professor Dr. Sue Lynn Sasser. Also, by supporting small businesses, we give the opportunity for more small businesses to find their place in our community, contributing to our unique city.

Getting the economy up and running again is on everyone’s minds. There is no better way to support our local economy by spending our money at small businesses. When you buy a product at a small local business, a bulk of the money stays local. According to the research firm Civic Economics, for every $100 you spend, $68 of the $100 stays in the community, as opposed to $43 when you spend it at a local chain store and $0 when you shop online. When this money stays local it helps funding for our schools, our police and fire departments, and infrastructure (we all know we need as much help with the potholes as we can get!) Supporting local businesses ensures that your dollars are kept in our community.

Overall, supporting small businesses is just a better experience! People who start their own businesses are often experts in their fields and give the best advice. They are passionate about their product, about what they do, and what they supply for our community. Ultimately, when you support a small business, you are supporting someone in their dream- what’s better than that?

Here are some of my favorite small businesses to support:

Tinker Coffee Co.: pick up & delivery options

Raise your hand if you’ve been drinking more coffee now than you ever have in your entire life! I miss my favorite lattes and coffee drinks from my go-to’s (shoutout Provider, Coat Check Coffee, and Commissary! PS you can still support them now by buying gift cards!) and Tinker Coffee Co has helped fill that void during this time. Not only do they have some of the best roasts around, they also have unveiled bottled cold brew, their spiced latte, and brand-new masala chai and golden milk. The best thing about these products? You can buy some for yourself AND donate them to our healthcare workers. I love how they made it easy to give those on the front line a nice treat as way to say thank you.

Gallery Pastry Shop: pick up & delivery options

What better to go with your coffee than a homemade croissant? Gallery Pastry Shop is my go-to place for a fun brunch or after work drink with friends. They are continuing to serve up all their amazing treats and have provided awesome take and bake options on holidays like Easter & Mother’s Day. Be sure to check out their $10 box lunches on Tuesday’s & Thursday’s and don’t even think about missing $1 Macaroon Wednesday’s (their lavender flavor is my absolute favorite).

CunninghamRestaurant Group: pick up & delivery options

Cunningham is a local restaurant group that is behind some of your favorite restaurants (think BRU Burger, Livery, Provision, & MORE). Their motto is ”In the Communities we serve, we will be the restaurant of choice for delighting our guests.” Not only do they do this through the food that they serve (seriously if you haven’t had Livery’s paella, get on it), but also through serving the community by supporting local food pantries, hosting dinners for local not-for-profits, and giving out dinners to those in need around the holidays.

Patachou Provisions: pick up only (Carmel & Meridian-Kessler locations)

Closing all of the Patachou locations created a void in Indianapolis, but as we say in our yoga practice, you don’t grow through comfortable situations, you grow through uncomfortable situations and that is exactly what Martha Hoover & Co are doing. They’ve started Patachou Provisions, where you can buy your Café Patachou favorites (think preserves, coffee, and the legendary granola) in addition to take and bake options from Petite Chou on Friday, have reopened their Meridian-Kessler Napolese location for carry out Thursday-Sunday, and have founded a new restaurant called Apocalypse Burger where Crispy Bird used to live. WOW. Supporting these restaurants not only gives you an opportunity to support their employees (all gratuity of purchases will go towards their PEER fund), but also supports The Patachou Foundation continuing to make scratch-made meals for children & their families who are facing food insecurity. Your support means that they can continue to fight childhood hunger during this crisis.

There are other ways to support our community during this time. I’ve been seeking out businesses and local markets like Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe´Turchetti’s, Goose the Market, Amelia’s, Wildwood Market, and Jason Michael Thomas’ drive up farmer’s stand for my groceries. My go to places for puzzles, games and crafts have been Onatah & Silver in the City. And! Our Hot Room family includes a multitude of entrepreneurs such as Primrose Candle Co. and Ekema Embroidery that I’ve loved supporting during this time as well.

More & more restaurants are opening up their businesses again and each one has unique protocols to follow. I’ve found that following your favorite places on Instagram and checking out their websites have been the best way to stay informed of operations and expectations as I pick up my products and goodies. The best rule of thumb- be responsible! Wear your mask, stay at least 6ft away from the people your receiving your goods from, and remember to tip well.

Which of your Indy faves will you be supporting next?

About Libby Baert

Libby is the Manager of our Downtown Indianapolis studio. She teaches Original Hot Yoga, Hot Power Vinyasa, and Yin Yoga. Libby also co-facilitates several of our teacher training programs through The Hot Room Leadership Institute. Questions? Email  libby@thehotroom.com