Small businesses depending on Small Business Saturday amid pandemic

Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 10:17 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - COVID 19 has taken its toll on small business owners across the county. In Iowa, guidelines restrict how many people can be in a shop at one time, and, in some cases, businesses have had to shut their doors.

That was why some Iowa City businesses said it was important for people to shop local on Small Business Saturday.

“Shopping at local stores is what we do if we aren’t working,” said Melanie Spellman of Cedar Rapids.

“We went to the comic book store, we went to the Ped Mall, and we checked out the pop-up shops,” said Anne Edwards.

Edwards and Spellman said Shopping on Small Business Saturday was a tradition of theirs but said it was more important than ever this year amid a pandemic.

“I’m probably spending more money this year than I had in the past,” said Edwards.

Renee Vogt, owner of Renee’s Ceramic Café, know the pain well. She usually holds classes where people can make pottery or paint glass, many of those classes were now held online.

“Numbers are way down just like everybody else’s,” she said. “We have had great support from the community though.”

Vogt has been making unique crafts for 16 years. She said the pandemic has made this the most difficult year next when she first opened her doors.

“I understand that you might not want to get out there,” she said. “It’s especially hard if you have kids; I have kids myself. It’s scary, but even if you don’t think $5 for a business doesn’t matter, it would help right now.”

Vogt said she wasn’t losing sleep over the lack of business just yet, but said it was going to take people like Edwards and Spellman supporting local businesses to help keep small businesses like her own afloat.

“I think it’s important,” said Edwards. “It’s make or break for some of these businesses. I want to be part of the solution and not the problem.”

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