Campaigns launched to support Kentucky small businesses during COVID-19

Campaigns launched to support Kentucky small businesses during COVID-19


Supporting Kentucky small businesses is more crucial than ever at this time.

Restaurants can no longer offer in-person dining and non-essential businesses have been asked to shut their doors; however, that hasn’t kept local chefs, media masterminds, and small business owners from finding alternative ways for the community to provide support.

How exactly can the community do this? Thanks to the launch of several local campaigns this past week, it’s simple. You can provide support through curbside or delivery, gift card and merchandise purchases, and oddly enough, spreading the word through hashtags.


You’ve probably seen the video circulating social media of several well-known Lexington chefs preaching community support, love and unity.

That would be LexUnite, the creative campaign spearheaded by Dan Wu of Atomic Ramen and Lara Swan of Great Bagel, in an attempt to support small businesses with gift card purchases.

The LexUnite site lists Kentucky businesses offering e-gift cards and links to individual websites to purchase gift cards online.

It serves as a centralized resource to provide the community answers to how and when they can help.


Another campaign provides the community with resources to support individuals and businesses within the service industry.

Sam Fore, along with her husband Chris, launched SICK-KY, which stands for Service Industry Connector of Kentucky. The site compiles a list of resources for Kentucky restaurants and service industry professionals affected by the statewide in-person dining ban. 

Unique to this site is a continuously compiled list of social giving links for Kentucky bartenders and servers who are affected by the closures. With many restaurants and bars not operating at this time, many service industry workers have been left suddenly out of work. SICK-KY supports these individuals by providing links to their Cash App, Venmo, and Zelle usernames.

Restaurant Workers Relief Program

SICK-KY and LexUnite, along with Branded78, joined forces to launch the Restaurant Workers Relief Program in Lexington. On the same note as SICK-KY, this campaign looks to assist the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, a paycheck, and support system.

Starting on Thursday, March 26, Great Bagel on Boston Road will transform into a restaurant workers relief center with help from the team behind LexUnite. Each night, hundreds of to go dinners will be packed for restaurant workers who have been laid off or had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay.

Lex Stick Together

For a campaign that supports small businesses of all industries—whether that is food, retail, or wellness—look no further than Lex Stick Together.

This site links gift cards, offers delivery/pick up options, and highlights special promotions. Small businesses can join the campaign at no cost with no strings attached.

“Now, more than ever, Lexington needs to stick together and we hope this website will provide locals with easy access to their favorite businesses,” says Julia Blake, co-founder of Barley and Rye Co.

Lex Stick Together is the brainchild of Jade Hollan, the blogger behind Lexington List. Along with Blake and Chelsea Trosper of Barley & Rye Co., the three of them made it their mission to create one spot where Kentuckians could go to find information to support their favorite businesses.

There are more than 100 businesses listed on the site including industries like food/drink, retail, art/photo, (well/fit)ness, and miscellaneous.

“We are really hopeful that this website can reach people who are trying to pay it forward and help small businesses survive during this difficult time.”



Visit the LexUNite site, share it with friends and family, and use the hashtag #LexUNITE to show your support on social media.


A frequently updated sampling of Lexington, KY restaurants offering curbside, delivery and takeout.

More information on the coronavirus impact on Lexington restaurant economy.



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