(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Every year on Small Business Saturday, shoppers skip big box retailers to support local business.
It’s a welcome sight for local business owners, but this year the support means so much more. Small businesses everywhere are struggling due to Covid-19, and downtown St. Joseph is no exception.
"We need downtown to come back to life," Dillon Cox, owner, Eclipz Ice Cream and Gourmet Popcorn said.
Cox said the downtown area has seen a drastic decrease in business over the last few months.
"It’s kinda scary at times," he said.
Covid-19 is changing the way we live, forcing people to stay home more which is leading to less opportunity for local business owners to reach their customers face to face.
"Downtown really thrives on the foot traffic," Valerie Steele, owner, Painted Beauty Boutique said. "These businesses are really feeling the impact from that."
The effect of Covid-19 is already proven to be too much to handle for some, and for other businesses the threat of suffering a similar fate looms.
"Right now, it’s about trying to stay afloat," Cox said.
"It’s really important for us to all be supporting each other right now," Steele said.
In the midst of the uncertainty, business owners said there are signs of hope, both from downtown businesses and their customers.
"It’s been really sad to watch, but it’s also been very heartwarming," Steele said. "People are starting to shop small more and more because they realize how important it is."
Business owners said now more than ever, they’re relying on customer support and innovation.
"We’re pushing forward and not giving up and becoming more and more creative," Cox said.
Businesses held pop-up shops downtown in effort to reach more people. Some downtown businesses have already had to close because of the pandemic.