Local shopping crucial for the survival of local restaurants and shops

Shopping at the small businesses that stretch along downtown Longmont and Boulder won’t just support local stores this holiday season. In the clutches of the coronavirus pandemic, business owners say traffic to their stores and restaurants can be a lifeline as months of challenges lengthen.

Marco Fuentes prepares his market, Carniceria La Barata, with buyers during Small Business Saturday in Longmont on November 28. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

The message was shared by store owners and small business Saturday customers. On the streets of Longmont and Boulder, shoppers were still bustling from store to store with bags in hand, crossing off items from their Christmas list. But with county red level restrictions limiting retail capacity to 50% and restaurants closed to indoor dining, crowds of people crowding side by side in small shops and long lines of people were absent from the scene.

At Ivy Rose Longmont, a women’s clothing boutique, owner Rosemary Bieker said business was stable, but not comparable to the crowds seen last year on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, which are usually the busiest days of the year for her. Business.

“The hard part for us is there is a mixed message: everyone is saying stay home… yet retail is at 50% capacity,” she said. “I think this is a difficult message for our customers to interpret.

Bieker has run the shop for three years and said she is taking extra precautions to keep customers safe. While the store can hold 12 people, Bieker said she is limiting capacity to six buyers. She added that the employees wore gloves in addition to their masks.

If they don’t feel safe shopping in-store, Bieker said there are always ways to support his business, including online shopping. Customers can schedule a private shopping appointment before or after regular store hours. Virtual shopping, curbside pickup, and merchandise delivery are also options for shoppers.

“Shopping in small businesses is really very safe,” she said. “We can do everything, to have the store to yourself and we limit the number of customers. “

Boulder CO - November 28, 2020: ...
Cory Schnabel, left, of Ruthie’s Boardwalk Social takes an order in the form of Jorge Soto, during Small Business Saturday at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder on November 28. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

With more challenges ahead for local businesses, Bieker said that unless people want local businesses they love to disappear, they must choose to shop small.

“(Small businesses) are what makes up downtown Longmont,” Bieker said. “I would encourage people to share the message that if they can’t come in, we’re open. If they can’t afford to shop, let people know that we are here and that you love us.

Along Main Street, Annie Wilson of Longmont stopped shopping to take a photo of an ice-carved snowman in St. Stephen’s Square. The sculpture was one of many initiatives by the Longmont Downtown Development Authority in support of what has been dubbed Small Business Weekend. The Longmont Symphony Orchestra also performed on Saturday afternoon and artist booths were scheduled throughout downtown today.

Wilson has shopped at the stores along Main Street in Longmont on Small Business Saturdays for the past two years. Although she saw some commotion on Saturday, it was not the same as the large crowds Wilson said he had seen in the past.

“It’s different,” Wilson said of the downtown atmosphere on Saturday. “It’s a little weird.”

Wilson said she wanted to help local Longmont businesses stay afloat. She also shopped at some downtown stores on Black Friday, including Zen Babe, a crystal and home decor store. On her list, Saturday was browsing the shelves of Barbed Wire Books.

“There is a lot of sadness right now so it makes my heart happy to see people walking around and doing their best to support people,” Wilson said.

LONGMONT, CO - November 28, 2020: ...
Karen Castaneda, left, takes a takeout order from Francisca and Pedro Martinez at Janie’s Cafe during Small Business Saturday in Longmont on November 28. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

At the end of the street, Golden Rueckert, from Longmont, waited outside the Scrumptious candy store, while his wife and 5-year-old did their shopping.

“We try to make (small purchases) a point in normal times. We think it’s important, ”said Rueckert. “Right now, I feel for the retail business. I feel for the restaurants.

Rueckert, who owns a small data business in Longmont, said he knows how important small shopping is in supporting local operations. After having lunch on the outdoor patio at Mike O’Shay’s, he said the family set out for Christmas shopping, including buying gift cards at local businesses.

Along the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, the atmosphere was similar.

Chris Norris, owner of Heads Up, The Hat Cart, said his overall sales for the year were down 50 to 60 percent. As he presented a variety of hats for the day’s business outside the Boulder County Courthouse, Norris said he felt optimistic for Small Business on Saturday.

“I don’t expect big things, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t a very interesting day,” Norris said.

Buying small businesses, he said, will be crucial for the survival of local operations.

“It makes a difference,” he said. “If we succumb, it’s hard to say what will take our place.

Not far from Norris’ hat cart, Christina Wardell, manager of Where the Buffalo Roam, watched shoppers enter and exit the Boulder and Colorado Memorial Gift Shop on the Pearl Street Mall.

“Yesterday (Black Friday) was a good day, not super slammed but nice and stable,” Wardell said.

While she said things had been slow at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Wardell said things tended to pick up in the afternoon. Over the past two months, Wardell said the store has seen great loyalty from customers, who want the business to continue to survive.

“I think we’re bringing something to the community,” Wardell said. “We put our heart and soul into every design we have and everything we do. “

Gladys T. Hensley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.