Here are 4 ways to treat yourself and help Ann Arbor businesses

The intersection of S. 4th Ave and S. Washington St. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been hard on local businesses, but it has also impacted Ann Arbor community members.

With an uptick in anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation, it can be hard to remember to care for yourself and recharge.

Here are four ways to treat yourself while supporting Ann Arbor businesses:

1. Take a class

If you are refreshed by new knowledge, improve a skill or learn something new with a virtual class. Many businesses are offering one-time and weekly classes.

On the food and drink side of things, Zingerman’s BAKE! launched virtual classes for baking breads, cakes, cookies and more. Tammy’s Tastings translated its popular cocktail classes to an online format for those wanting to expand their knowledge of different drinks.

If you’re looking for something active, Ann Arbor Rec & Ed, Ann Arbor YMCA and many area gyms and fitness studios offer online classes. Then, relax a bit with Ann Arbor Art Center’s rotating schedule of virtual art courses.

2. Buy something for yourself (or someone else) online

By now, most businesses have an online shop of some sort. Whether it’s through their own website or another platform, online sales are keeping many businesses afloat.

Get yourself a small (or big) something and help your favorite local business continue on. Some businesses offer shipping, while others have curbside or contactless pickup options.

If you can’t decide on your own, see if the store offers personalized shopping. Literati has Tete-a-Tete shopping while Caravan Gift Shop does personalized video shopping.

Don’t see anything you like? Purchase a gift card to spend later after the store gets more stock. Main Street Ann Arbor made a list of Main Street stores that are offering gift cards if you don’t know where to start.

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3. Order take out

Feeling tired? Cut yourself some slack and just order dinner. Many of Ann Arbor’s restaurants and eateries have had dramatically reduced patronage due to capacity limitations, supply chain difficulties and social distancing restrictions. Help them help you by getting dinner to-go and maybe tomorrow’s lunch as well).

While you’re at it, order a drink to go with dinner. Several Ann Arbor bars and eateries serve to-go cocktails or do-it-yourself kits. Here’s our list (but check with your favorite restaurant, too!)

4. Join a monthly club

Monthly subscriptions mean that you get a regular surprise while giving a business more long-term support. Zingerman’s offers various monthly subscription services including a monthly bread club, snack club and Michigan foods club. If you’re looking for something sweeter, check out Sweet Heather Anne’s for a monthly cake club starting at $45.

Want to expand your palate further? York has a discovery wine club that includes four bottles of wine, personalized guided tasting notes, pairing recommendations and in-store discounts.

Maybe you’re trying to consume fewer calories but more books. Luckily, Literati has two book subscription programs to help with that.


Clear your head and take a walk in one of Ann Arbor’s public parks. It’s free, it’s easy to do and you can do it whenever you want. If you’re not sure where to start, a young couple visited more than 140 of Ann Arbor parks and made a report about their experiences. Check out their top 25 list.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, receive free help by calling the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.

Related: Here are 4 cider mills near Ann Arbor to put you in the fall spirit

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.