NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many stores that are usually packed on Black Friday saw a lot less foot traffic this year, which is just another punch to the gut for small businesses.
Partly because of the pandemic, a projected 35-40% of holiday shopping sales will be online this year. For many small businesses, sales in the next month could determine whether or not they have to close their doors in the new year.
“Jeff Bezos doesn’t need more of our money. Our friends and neighbors who are our local, independent shop owners and retailers, they need our money this season more than ever,” said Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation in Westfield, New Jersey.
The Downtown Westfield Corporation just opened a welcome center that offers free gift wrapping and even arranges for free delivers from local retailers during the holidays, promoting the idea to shop small.
RELATED STORY — Message From Small Businesses To Holiday Shoppers: Buy Local
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports, many small businesses do 70-80% of their annual sales in just two months — November and December — so shoppers are urged to spend at least part of their budget buying local.
Miriam Silver Verga owns Mimi & Hill, an interior design studio and retail shop in Westfield.
“Not all your shopping has to come from downtown, but you can make a concerted effort that 20, 30, 40, 50% of the purchases you make can directly affect your town, your community, your neighbors,” she said.
Jacklyn Civins owns the Evalyn Dunn Gallery in Westfield.
“We do whatever you want. We will pick up, we will deliver, whatever the needs are,” she said.
She points out one thing you won’t find in a small shop like hers is a big crowd of people, and in the middle of a pandemic, that can be priceless.
Watch Alice Gainer’s report —
West Side Kids on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City has been in business for 39 years, but this Black Friday has been very different from years past.
“There’s usually some kind of energy in here that’s everyone is getting excited about the holidays and people are doing some shopping, but we’re just not seeing it,” said Jennifer Bergman, president of West Side Kids.
Bergman says over the summer, the store was doing 25% of what it normally does in sales.
Now, she says they’ve “improved to doing half of what we normally do, but that’s not sustainable.”
Around the corner at John Koch Antiques, owner John Koch says, “Eighty percent of our business is television and movies’ set decoration, and though that’s come back, it’s come back with, under a sort of new structure with reduced budgets.”
Sarah Williams owns Rituals and Ceremony in Brooklyn, which specializes in home goods and self-care products.
“Unfortunately, there are some stores that, on our block, that had to shut down. And so thankfully, we were able to pivot to online,” Williams said.
According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the pandemic forced 41% of Black businesses to close for good, compared to only 17% of white-owned businesses.
There’s a push to support small businesses and, specifically, Black-owned businesses on Black Friday.
Rapper Wyclef Jean wrote a jingle for Google urging people to shop Black on Black Friday.
“You could go to Google Map and just type in ‘Black-owned businesses’ in the area that you in,” Jean said.
A Brooklyn couple also runs the website Black-Owned Brooklyn, which features local businesses and a holiday gift guide.
- For more, visit blackownedbrooklyn.com/gift-guide.
Anyone who can’t make it to the stores in-person is urged to check out their websites and shop online.
“Just using us as an emergency or last minute is not gonna work. We need your business 100%,” Bergman said.
Otherwise, they may not be here next holiday season.
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