As the coronavirus pandemic extends from one week to the next, small business tenants under the PREIT real estate umbrella will now have access to a much larger audience.
A new platform, Shop Local, will be featured on all of PREIT’s mall websites in a new effort to support the e-commerce channels of the small businesses in its portfolio, the company said.
Shop Local will showcase products from local and regional businesses, which currently make up 28 percent of the organization’s tenants.
“Our local businesses are among the enterprises hardest hit by this pandemic,” chairman and CEO of PREIT Joseph F. Coradino said. “Without robust digital marketing budgets, they are at a disadvantage to their national counterparts.
“The retail ecosystem is critical to economic recovery and we wanted to be sure we took steps to support those most in need, including putting our marketing power behind our tenants,” he added.
Considering businesses with fewer than 500 employees make up 48 percent of American jobs and 43.5 percent of the GDP, according to the Harvard Business Review, PREIT said it remains important to support community businesses.
The unique products offered by local small businesses also often make up a significant part of why its malls make shopping a “special experience,” the company claimed.
“Our goal in pursuing this endeavor is to take another step in putting our communities first and be even better partners with our tenants moving forward,” Coradino said.
PREIT Malls reach more than one million consumers through its digital channels and the company said it was “pleased” to offer small business tenants access to this customer base.
Over the past few weeks, PREIT has been forced to furlough 37 percent of its staff through suspensions and hours reductions. Earlier in April, the real estate company announced plans to offer food donations and parking lot activations for its tenants and community partners.
It also previously launched a website to share resources and information with small business tenants regarding federal emergency loan programs.
Both private and public organizations have placed an emphasis on helping small businesses survive during the pandemic, including the United States Senate, which recently reached a deal to extend the Payroll Protection Program.
A non-profit industry group, Run Local, was recently created to provide relief for local running footwear and apparel stores in the U.S. Lead by the Palmetto Running Company, Run Local allows consumers to purchase merchandise and send the proceeds directly to an independent running store of their choice.