By Kevin Zimmer and Chyann Klahs
COVID-19 has impacted small businesses located in quaint towns and cities nationwide. In the village of Brockport, small businesses are suffering as revenue continues to decrease during the pandemic.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took swift action ordering the closing of non-essential businesses. The non-essential businesses in the village of Brockport are facing financial hardships during this shutdown.
Brockport village hall board liaison Kathy Kristansen, said the village hall is crafting solutions to help the local businesses during the pandemic.
“The code enforcement officer Chad Fabry, has been asked by the village board to review the sidewalk café permit and process including the possibility of waiving the fees attached to this permit,” said Kristansen.
Kristansen said at their last board meeting, a merchant had requested the sidewalk café permit. Kristansen said the permit that was submitted by the merchant will go through a reviewing process by the village board to decide whether to approve the permit based on research.
“The village has been sharing with the merchants any and all information regarding financial assistance offered by county, state, and federal agencies that the village becomes aware of,” said Kristansen.
Kristansen said the village is encouraging businesses to communicate their needs, ideas, and concerns to the village board so that the village and merchants can continue to work together to get through this pandemic and have a successful outcome in the end.
The village hall is a resource that local business owners can use to obtain recommendations to help their business survive during the pandemic.
Judith Andrew is the owner of Lightways Peaceful Journey Metaphysical store. She said her shop has been hit financially during the pandemic.
“We had closed the store on March 16. I am still able to sell merchandise through my online store and call-in. I am still able to provide complimentary Zoom meditations and Zoom one on one sessions,” said Andrew.
Andrew said while providing all these services and making sales either online or by call-in, she is currently receiving 5% less in income. Andrew is promoting her shop by using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google and Zoom to get the word out to customers that they are still open.
“People are making an effort to support their local shops. The community is also making an effort to support stores in the village,” said Andrew.
Andrew believes the community understands what these shops and businesses in the village are going through during this unprecedented time.
Brooke Albanese is the owner of Lagom. Her shop has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
The shop’s display creates a visual appeal which is what draws in the majority of its customers to shop. Lagom has been forced to transition to online retail and Albanese is having difficulty maintaining this appeal online.
“I am making much less than I was. My shop has a certain feel that is hard to portray online. I have many loyal customers, who I am extremely grateful for, that have continued to support me. But it’s the walk-in traffic and new customers that we’re missing,” said Albanese.
Sarah Bonczyk is the owner of Lift Bridge Book Shop. She said her shop is facing financial challenges because of the coronavirus.
“In general, bookstores profit margins are at 6%, I am making 2% with only being able to sell merchandise online and by phone compared to customers being able to purchase things in the store,” said Bonczyk.
Bonczyk is concerned that her shop is unable to survive during the pandemic due to the lack of revenue she is receiving. She is doing a lot of work for less revenue.
“We need people to support us, and not by discounting items which does not help us improve our bottom line,” said Bonczyk.
Bonczyk said people are continuing to order from Amazon and other large retail stores. She hopes this will trickle down to the small businesses located on Main Street.
Brockport’s businesses are being financially devastated by the coronavirus. Only time will tell when these long-lasting symptoms will subside. Supporting these small businesses is a community responsibility. With everyone chipping in, the community will overcome the struggle.