Small Business Update: Checking in after holiday shopping weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Holiday shopping is in full swing and with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday behind us, some small businesses saw a bump in sales over the weekend.

But was it enough to offset the lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic?

"There's still a good portion of people who just don't feel comfortable coming in yet and we are negatively impacted by that," said Richard Price, owner of the Alamo Shoes in Andersonville.

Their shelves are stocked - but the store is nearly empty because the small business just isn't getting the foot traffic it once did before the pandemic.

But over the Black Friday weekend, things changed - for just a bit.

"Since we reopened in June, this past Friday and Saturday were the busiest days we've seen since June, so that is positive," Price said.

But it's still down in comparison to last year's sales.

"Year over year, if we compared 2020 to 2019, I'm down about 40%," Price said. "In those three days around Black Friday, we're seeing around a 20% decrease in business."

It's a reality many local businesses in the area are facing. But some, like Bryn Mawr Jewelry, have a different story to tell.

"Without a doubt, we would not be where we are today without small business. Every sale puts food on our tables, that's a fact," Owner Scott Freeman said.

Freeman opened the store's new location three weeks before the lockdown in March - but when he reopened a couple of months later, he was pleasantly surprised.

The same goes for this past weekend.

"Every day, I swear to God I have to pinch myself. Everyone's been so supportive," Freeman said. "People want to do something nice for themselves or nice for somebody else. I guess buy something that means a lot and will last the test of time."

Though the coming weeks will be different for every small business - the message they're sending is clear, they'll need the communities' help to survive.

"So many small businesses are closing and now more than ever small business really needs the support," Freeman added.
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