LAKELAND, Fla. - It is touch-and-go for many businesses because COVID-19 has put a real dent in their income. That’s why many are coming up with creative ways to bring in quick cash to help keep them afloat.
The Downtown Lakeland Partnership came with the idea of a bingo game.
Adam Shalaby, the owner of Taco Bus, said, “Everybody wins.”
You still have to fill out the card to actually win, but Shalaby means it's a great way to promote businesses that are still open while giving a perk to customers, too.
Every time you spend money at one of the downtown shops you get a sticker on your bingo card. When it’s full, your name goes into a hat to win a $300 gift certificate.
“It’s just a way to bring attention to downtown businesses and make it fun,” said Julie Townsend, executive director of the partnership.
The ever-popular Downtown Farmers Curb Market has been temporarily closed because of the pandemic. It has also conjured up with a way to still sell at least some items.
You place your order, then retrieve it on a Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning at the partnership office, which provides curbside pick-up.
“A lot of our vendors, this is their living,” said Jim Luna, who heads up the market.
Luna also plans to begin stocking non-perishable items like sauces and honey, so they can easily be included in a sale without ordering them in advance.
In Hillsborough County, Keel Farms, known for its locally produced wine and beer, is selling products that are hard to find in stores, like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Joe Keel, the founder, said the items are flying off the shelves. “It’s hard to keep them in stock, but we try,” Keel said.
None of the stopgap measures are replacing their lost income, but owners hope whatever money that comes in is enough to keep them going until COVID-19 is less of a threat.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know
AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com
Map of known COVID-19 cases:
MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map