A Look at COVID-19’s Impact on Some Local Businesses

A+Look+at+COVID-19%27s+Impact+on+Some+Local+Businesses

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Almost every day, one sees this message on the news: “Store closing! Everything must go! Nothing held back!” Many well-known stores are being forced to have liquidation sales and close due to lack of sales over the past few months. This is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic; companies that have been around for decades now have to file for bankruptcy and are shutting down almost all of their locations. Companies that once flourished are now struggling to scrounge up money to pay for rent. If multimillion-dollar businesses worldwide are financially suffering, what does this mean for small local businesses? 

What was once the center of America’s economy is now one of the nation’s biggest dilemmas. When most people think about the business industry, retail stores immediately come to mind. While retail companies have indeed been significantly impacted by COVID-19, this is not the only industry that is fighting to survive: the food, healthcare, and entertainment industries are also struggling and begging government officials for relief grants, since they have not been able to recover from the pandemic’s lack of business.

However, some companies such as Amazon and Microsoft have thrived throughout this pandemic. According to The Verge in an article entitled “Amazon Doubled its Profit During a Pandemic,” Amazon’s net profit rose from $2.6 billion to $5.2 billion during the COVID scare. Since most consumers shopped online during the peak of quarantine, they went to Amazon as their first resource. The majority of small businesses have been negatively impacted, with only a handful of them prospering. Here are three small local businesses that have felt the effects of COVID-19, each with a different story to tell:

Local coffee shop favorite Heavenly Coffee was one small business that defied all odds. Known for its delectable coffee and vast variety of flavors, the shop has flourished over the past few months, unlike many other small businesses. This serene coffee shop closed for one month amidst the peak of the pandemic, when viral transmission was at its highest rate. The store eventually reopened, hoping it could make up for the profit that had been lost when it closed its doors one month prior. Many loyal customers, along with college students who could not go away this school year, returned to support their favorite coffee shop right when it reopened. 

Sophomore Caroline Montine commented, “I love this coffee shop so much; I was so sad when they had to close for a few weeks because of COVID-19, and I am grateful that they are open again.” Business has since been booming, and many people are coming to the store every morning for their usual cup of coffee, relieved that one aspect of their life is back to “normal.” 

Gina Vitale, mother of Heavenly Coffee Owner and LHS alumnus John Vitale (’10), stated, “We are doing great right now. We do not make food here, only coffee, so we do not have to worry about the [COVID-related] conflicts that restaurants have when preparing food. We have days where there are lines out the door, and slow days where we are able to catch up on work that needs to be done around here.”

There are many businesses that are attempting to rebuild what they once had before the pandemic. Another business trying to bounce back is local medical center Feldhun Chiropractor and Associates, a small practice dedicated to the overall well-being of its patients. When the spread of the virus first occurred, Feldhun Chiropractor closed briefly to implement new safety precautions in its office. Since everyone was quarantining, many did not feel safe enough to continue with their treatments in-person. As a result, more than 80% of patients did not come in for their weekly treatments. Now, Feldhun Chiropractor has started to expand its office hours, since more people feel comfortable starting their treatments again.

Jill Feldhun, owner of Feldhun Chiropractor and Associates, said, “I was grateful that our patients trusted us to care for them and their health care needs during such a difficult time. Now that we are growing again, I am so happy to be able to bring back my awesome staff and be able to help out my patients like I’ve always been able to.”

Other businesses are attempting to rebuild their financial standings since reopening, but are having a more difficult time doing so. The Dance Space, a local dance studio located in East Rockaway, is just one of the many businesses that is undoubtedly feeling the effects of the Coronavirus. Since reopening, it has seen class enrollment decline tremendously, especially in the three-to-nine age group. In addition to having less students, the studio must put many safety protocols into action, resulting in a large investment in equipment, such as cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer.

Lauren Quaranta, owner of The Dance Space, commented, “Our enrollment in younger ages is little to nothing, and all these investments on safety equipment are really adding up. Many businesses that are in our position have the same mindset: it is not about profiting or making money anymore; it is just about surviving during these challenging times.”

Many companies have been severely impacted by COVID-19; however, certain industries are having an easier time rebuilding their economic standings than others. As all the businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus fight to survive, everyone can do his/her part to help by supporting local entrepreneurs whenever possible.