Brick and mortar shops looking for spark on Small Business Saturday

Brick and mortar shops looking for spark on Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday looks different this yea due to the ongoing pandemic (Source: wvue)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The year coming to a close usually means plenty of shoppers out spreading holiday cheer, but the stresses of 2020 continued to linger on Small Business Saturday.

“I think we’re going to keep it very limited as far as our exposure going out,” said Joshua Johnston, who came to Oak street Saturday to enjoy live music with his family.

“I mean we’ll do some shopping but just try to stay strategic. I didn’t want to go on Black Friday, that kind of thing.”

“I actually have been really mindful myself of shopping local,” said Michelle Baxter.

“I just think it’s so important to think about the people in our community. I think that’s who we should start uplifting.”

One of those people is Elizabeth Ahlquist who’s been running blue cypress books for 12 years.

“People start to get into the one click mentality, but the reality is that small businesses keep our city together. If you want to have box stores and Amazon trucks up and down the street, then that’s all we’ll ever have. No character, no soul whatsoever,” said Ahlquist.

This year is projected to be one of biggest years ever for online shopping, understandably because of the pandemic.

Ahlquist says small business owners like her are pivoting with the times, offering curbside pickup, and following restrictions.

She says the pandemic even prompted them to launch a website where people can buy directly, and utilize social media for those who want to shop virtually.

“It was a way for people to access us without having to leave their homes, and I even did deliveries. It was fun driving all over the city.”

“We’ve never done anything that would put our customers or my staff at risk. That’s unacceptable.”

And puzzles sales Ahlquist says have been through the roof, which is why they made sure to stock up on more for holiday shoppers.

She says book sales are also up because people who have become more avid readers while being stuck at home.

“There’s two types. There’s people who want to lean into the plague books and the end of the world, and there’s those who don’t want to hear anything about it, and I’m here for both of them.”

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