PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A local business owner’s idea to help small shops during this time of need is gaining traction around the nation.

When people started working from home, local restaurants and businesses were left in the lurch. But one local business owner had an idea and it started a national movement.

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When John Dick told his employees from his East Liberty company to work from home, he gave them an incentive to support the day-to-day businesses they’d be leaving behind.

“Hey, if you purchase any food or coffee from our local establishments, we’ll reimburse you for it,” said CivicScience’s John Dick. “We strongly encouraged them to do takeout and delivery obviously.”

The idea caught fire on a national scale when Dick’s friend and Mount Lebanon native Mark Cuban offered the same for employees of his Dallas Mavericks and other companies.

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“It doesn’t happen without Mark Cuban really amplifying,” Dick said. “I have a few dozen people in my company and a few thousand Twitter followers. He’s got thousands of people that works to him, certainly several hundreds, and millions of followers. So, really, I tip my hat to Mark.”

But the need is staggering. Our region is primarily a service economy, and statistics show that more than 14,000 businesses will close and 300,000 people may soon be out of work. But in the short-term, at least unemployment will be 25 percent or higher.

“We’re a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done to support those businesses,” he said.

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Under Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders, you can’t go into restaurants, but you can order online and pick it up. John Dick and others urge you to do so.