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Defiance group using social media to support small businesses

The Support Defiance Facebook group is quickly growing and helping to support small businesses in the town.

DEFIANCE, Ohio — As small businesses across the country fight to stay afloat, communities are coming up with different ways to help one another.

Some people in Defiance are using social media creatively to support local businesses when they need it the most.

Alesha Switzer lives in Defiance with her husband and two children. She's not a business owner herself -- she works as a nurse practitioner for ProMedica -- but doesn't need to be to recognize her local shops are hurting.

"There's some real concern that these people are going to lose their livelihood or not be able to pay a bill," she said.

So she set out to help by creating a Facebook group called Support Defiance. And in a town of around 16,000 people, it already has over 3,000 followers and counting.

"If a lot of people give a little bit, it's going to make a big difference," she added, "the idea is if you give a dollar or more, you know that's maybe $3000 to help these people pay bills and do things like that."

The group is highlighting one main business of the week to help with donations, gift certificates or just messages of support. And it's also featuring five others businesses. 

Taylor Carnahan owns Bellbird Photography on Clinton street. She says it's been hard.

"Being shut down has kind of really affected me in a hard way," Carnahan said, "having the stress levels that are high, not wondering what comes with the next month, not wondering when I'm going to be able to book sessions again."

But the group has already come through for owners like Carnahan, donating directly through things like Paypal and Venmo.

"It's been really great to see all the support," she added, "all the messages I've gotten of hope, prayer, sending love, everything. The donations I've gotten have really given me hope to get through this and it really has gotten me through this well."

Switzer said she plans to continue this even after things return to normal. Owners like Taylor say this is really helping the community to see their local businesses as neighbors.

"This group is kind of a start to something a little more special that's going to happen," Carnahan said, "and kind of let everyone see that you know these small businesses do make an impact on our community and they are a big part of our community."

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