Small businesses are adjusting to the effects of the pandemic


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — It’s a puzzle for small business owners to figure out how to operate this holiday season, but many are adjusting to the effects brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The shopkeeper for Timeless Toys in Chicago says they are trying everything in their power to keep customers safe during the pandemic and end the year on top, financially.

“So we are moving mostly to an online business. At this point, it’s about 50/50 for the fourth quarter,” Scott Friedland, shopkeeper of Timeless Toys Shopkeeper said. “That is something that logistically we are not set up to do. However we are getting better at it day by day.”

It’s a similar situation for Genevieve Konz, owner of her self-titled clothing boutique.

“I am so thankful. It makes me emotional. I am so thankful that we are in such an awesome community,” Konz said.  

When Genevieve Boutique shut down in March she said customers continued to support her small business, but she had to fight to stay open.

“It was brutal and every day was grueling hard work. I was delivering to customers. I was doing a ton of curbside pickup,” Konz said. “I was doing everything I could. I actually didn’t have a website when all this started. I since launched and now have a presence online.”

Data from Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker estimates as of Nov. 9, 2020, the number of small businesses open decreased by 28.8%  in the United States compared to January of this year.

Across the nation, total small business revenue decreased by 31.3%. These staggering figures are why some shoppers say its critical for them to shop local this year.

“The local shops are the ones that really help your community to thrive,” said shopper Scott Miller. “We have a community with a bunch of closed storefronts, that not a place that you want to live. You want to live in a place that’s thriving.”

Small business owners say each gift you buy is helping their small business stay alive.

“All of our capacity at retail stores have been reduced to 25%. Which they haven’t seen a lot of traffic recently with the spike that’s happening across the nation,” Rudy Flores, Executive Director for Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce said. “That’s still going to hurt them a little bit. Especially because not everyone has a robust online website.”   

Many small businesses are partnering with American Express to offer deals to people who shop small.

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