Small businesses in Edmonton are urging people to shop locally when they’re able to.
Both consumers and retailers are facing uncertainty this holiday season. Many people are eager to support Edmonton-based businesses, while also trying to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It’s a complicated balance to strike — with some shying away from public spaces as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Alberta.
Jenna Pryor, owner of Plum Design, said she’s noticed a decline in foot traffic in the last week.
“It makes sense. The COVID-19 numbers are high and they are worrisome. We want everyone to take their health seriously. It’s important,” she said.
Pryor said it’s an extremely difficult time to run a small business.
“It is gnawing at us at night. We’re worrying about business, our employees, our fellow business owners.”
The pandemic has forced huge changes to how stores operate and how consumers shop. Many local retailers are adding curbside pickup or online shopping to entice customers.
“There are ways to support local and stay home,” Pryor said. “We are trying to find ways to make things easier for our customers.”
John Pracejus is the director of the School of Retailing at the University of Alberta. He said an uncertain economy can cause added stress and tighten consumers’ budgets.
“A lot of people have either had incomes reduced or they are unemployed or just concerned about what may happen in the future,” he said.
“This is a very important time for retailers in general. A lot of retailers make a huge percentage of sales during the holiday season.”
Pyror said her business makes 40 per cent of its earnings between November and December.
“If we don’t support our small businesses… we won’t be here,” she said.
If you are shopping in-store, Pracejus recommends shopping earlier than you have in the past to avoid crowds and cold temperatures. He also said it’s important to remember the current situation is putting additional stress on many.
“Remember these retail workers are frontline workers, they are putting themselves at a little bit of risk to make your holiday special so if there are lines to get in or something, try to keep patience,” he said.
Pryor said she spends time each night going through the day’s purchases and the regulars who have come through the store.
“I just feel so incredibly grateful. That little purchase just has this beautiful ripple effect.”
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