Life Advice



Ask Amy: Struggling business stretched by ‘asks’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I'm a business owner with a small retail store located in an affluent community.

We rent our space and our staff includes family members who work for free so that we can keep the doors open.

The shop is a labor of love, and it is a gathering place for community members.

That said, business is very slow and we are struggling.

The COVID years saw our complete shutdown (according to state mandates), and business at a complete standstill. The tourists who used to be our main guests/buyers have not returned since COVID.

We are constantly being approached by local businesses and nonprofits looking for donations and sponsorships.


These include schools asking for donations to raffles; museums asking for three-figure donations to their fundraisers; nonprofits raising money for good causes; local theaters and newspapers asking us to purchase ads ("for only $275 a week"), and more.

We have always supported them when we could, including giving gift certificates to our shop, but I'm overwhelmed now.

Some days I'm choosing between buying food or gas for my car so I can drive to my other job.

Our business account is empty and it's all I can do not to cry when asked for donations.


swipe to next page




Carpe Diem Aunty Acid Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee A.F. Branco 9 Chickweed Lane Red and Rover