ANNAPOLIS, Md — Lynn Gotjen has been working retail in downtown Annapolis for 15 years, she opened her new store, Boatique, 2 years ago.
"I was only open for a week and a half and then COVID shut us down. It wasn't a good start," she said.
Having your business shut down after ordering inventory, rebuilding your store and looking forward to a success thriving business is not a bad start... it's a horrible start. Stores have come back but, not all the customers have. Lynn's shop is on Main Street in Annapolis. Our capital city has already had black Friday, small business Saturday and midnight madness.
"They were just fair, definitely below average," said Lynn.
And the numbers back that statement up. According to a survey, 34% of the consumers say they will shop small businesses now, that's down from 44% in 2018.
"I think they are worried about the economy and the new variant of the COVID. So, I thing they are very very and worried," she continued.
Just like us, retailers are trying to predict the future. Lynn thinks going forward, there's a good possibility things are going to get better.
"I think we've been through enough to prove that most everyone has been vaccinated," she said. "You know, just wash you hands like they say. If you need to wear a mask to feel more comfortable, just wear a mask and get out there."
The Boutique is packed with inventory but that's deceiving.
"It does look like that but, there's noting in the back of the house."
And that's the problem for everyone, the inventory is stuck off shore or in some storage facility waiting to go to the stores.
"If you can't get inventory and every body wants something for next to nothing, your nowhere, you gotta be able to stay alive," she said.
And this holiday season for many small businesses will determine if they "stay alive" or shut down.
Thank you. So as Lynn tries to keep her head above water at the boutique, it's full steam ahead.
"You know you gotta go through and fight and try and keep rolling, take it day by day. That's all you can do," said Lynn.
That sounds like how most of us are getting through this pandemic.