Keep Prince William Small Businesses’ Lights Shining Brightly

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By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

I had hoped this would be “the month.” The month where we would return to work, albeit without schools reopened.  The month our parks would welcome us again. The month where after cleaning through my professional library, I could donate several books to the local library. The month when I could get together with friends and visit my favorite restaurants and local gathering places.

Staying inside, limiting my trips for groceries, and waving to neighbors across the road instead of walking over to say hello are important. Like many, I would prefer to be out, taking a walk at Prince William Forest Park, browsing through the stores at Potomac Mills, sitting outside at Stonebridge, and possibly shopping for outdoor furnishing at Ikea. However, I can’t. And I won’t complain.

Social distancing has shown to be the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus. I know it’s difficult to see those effects when you’re cooped up inside. This National Geographic article provides interesting charts on how actions taken in other nations have controlled the virus. It’s easy to see in the charts that when countries cancelled large gatherings and enforced social distancing, there was a measurable decline in infections.

I also know people are suffering and not just from boredom, but from fear. Can they pay their rent, mortgages, healthcare, or feed their families? Balance the electric bill with the gas bill and the water bill, both higher because we’re home. All. The. Time.

If you are able, I encourage you to support small businesses and your neighbors. Visit the Prince William County website and read about local businesses helping us! If you are financially able to support these small businesses, please do so. Whether it’s take-out meals, buying gift cards for future services, or making donations to support agencies. Consider sending a ‘love gift’ to individuals who support you in your daily lives, like your trash collectors, the mail deliverer, a house cleaner or salon worker that you frequent. That gift doesn’t have to be money. Even a cold soda or a bottle of hand sanitizer shows that you appreciate them being there for all of us.

Need some more ideas? Fill up your car at Sheetz gas and grab a snack. They have raised employee wages and are offering free coffee to first responders. Other companies who have also increased wages include Wegmans, Costco, Price Rite, CVS, and Target, to name a few.

Check out the local wineries, if this is something that you enjoy. Many are doing great things to continue to reach out to the region and their patrons. Some are hosting virtual tastings to share information and others are doing special weekly packages highlighting both their wine and other local eateries. Check out “Beyond the Plate” series from The Winery at La Grange.

Up the road in Fairfax County, the Great American restaurant chain is also feeding first responders and providing curbside take out. You can even order curbside pick-up of groceries, another way to stay out of the supermarket! Back in Prince William County, one of my favorite spots, El Charro, is doing curbside pickup through the drive thru lane. And you can even get a margarita to go, if you’re so inclined.

Have you driven by a farm or two over the years? I know you have. Check out a local farm such as Yankey Farms and take advantage of pick your own produce – strawberry season is upon us. Farms often sell produce, local meat, dairy and eggs. You can stay out of the grocery store and support a local and essential business. Check out Washington Lamb, a family-owned food service distributor. It is quite likely that there will be a disruption to the supply chains servicing grocery stores; this might be a great option and the money will be kept locally.

Is there something you need from a business that you can no longer get to because of closures? Call the business and see if products can be delivered or shipped right to your door. If you find something interesting, let me know. I suspect next month may not be “the month” either and I’m happy to promote Prince William heroes.


 Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work.  She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training.  She can be reached at or




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