Buy ATL Merch Website Lets People Buy Products and Gift Cards at Atlanta Restaurants and Bars

Inspired by a Tweeter Lamenting the lack of a centralized location to purchase catering products, Atlanta designer and illustrator Sarah Lawrence created an e-commerce site listing a growing number of gift cards, food and childcare items -eat, as well as clothes from dozens of local restaurants, bars and cafes. Called Buy ATL Merch, the site offers diners another opportunity to safely support Atlanta’s besieged restaurant industry during the pandemic.

Winter tends to be the slowest season of the year for restaurants as people limit their spending and eating habits after the holidays. According to a COVID-19 impact survey conducted in November by the National Restaurant Association, 52% of Georgian restaurant owners expect sales to decline even more this quarter.

With wintry weather making al fresco dining less feasible and a slower than normal dining season expected this spring, 27% of Georgian restaurant owners say they risk closing their establishments temporarily until the health crisis is over . Almost 40 percent of Georgia restaurant owners don’t expect their business to survive another six months without substantial federal help.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, Atlanteans like Lawrence have mobilized to help restaurants and bars, beyond simply ordering take-out or meals on the terraces. Regulars at Atlanta institutions Manuel’s Tavern and The Colonnade raised thousands of dollars for these businesses to cover rent, utilities, and payroll. Former resident Adam Darby, who lived in Atlanta for 20 years and moonlighted as a DJ at venues across the city, compiled a searchable database with links to fundraising campaigns created in name of local restaurants and bars.

Darby’s database, Relief Atlanta, has become the home of Buy ATL Merch, which lists everything from baby t-shirts and clothing to coffee mugs, tote bags and vinegars. Functioning as an aggregator, each item listed on Buy ATL Merch links to the site of the original restaurant or bar so people can complete their purchase.

“I had no idea there was so much cool loot in town, and it seemed like a cool way to support organizations you love even if you don’t feel safe visiting and a gift card. always sounds like a promise you’ll never get to keep, ”says Lawrence, who credits the Atlanta reporter with Gray Chapman for the idea. “I did this right before the holidays, but I really hope people refer to it throughout the year and after COVID as a way to buy gifts and support local restaurants. “

Lawrence continues to add restaurants and bars to Buy ATL Merch through an online submission form located on the home page.

While grassroots efforts such as the Buy ATL Merch and GoFundMe campaigns provide a patchwork of temporary financial aids, they are not long-term solutions to the daunting cash flow crisis the restaurant industry continues to experience.

After months of political maneuvering and tense negotiations, Congress finally passed the latest round of COVID-19 relief funding in December. The bill excludes the house-approved RESTAURANTS Act, worth $ 120 billion. However, President Joe Biden and his administration have come up with a new proposal that could provide $ 15 billion in grants to help one million of the nation’s hardest-hit small businesses “get back on their feet” using the Commodity Credit Corporation ( CCC) of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is not known how this program could be used to provide these grants or how the restaurant industry could benefit from them.

For now, restaurant and bar owners can apply for a “second draw” PPP loan if their businesses meet the eligibility criteria for funding. In addition to covering payroll, rent, and utilities, this new PPP loan also allows part of the funding to go towards covering COVID-19 protective measures such as sneeze guards and ventilators, as well. than to help pay suppliers for current or previous orders of perishable goods. . The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

Click here to shop Buy ATL Merch.

About William G. Patrick

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