Businesses back in business after impacts of COVID-19

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Downtown Springfield is beginning to rebound from what was a roller coaster of a year for small businesses.

Over the span of just a few months, the makeup of Downtown Springfield has gone through some changes. The economic effects of the pandemic took hold for some businesses early on, and Rusty Worley, Executive Director of the Downtown Springfield Association, says it was too much for some to bounce back from.

“A couple that closed early on, Billiards and Falstaffs,” said Worley. “Not having the ability to get large groups or sports on, I think they were concerned early on. Tequila and Mezcal Mexican restaurant, they closed recently.”

He says many businesses have had to cut staff, reduce hours, and plan for a new way of doing business with the challenges presented. With the losses however, there has been some growth.

“We’ve also had some new additions too,” said Worly. “Classic Rock Coffee opened, Billyneck food station opened, and right across the street from them on Walnut is the Bonsai Guy.”

But small businesses, aren’t out of the woods quite yet.

Cricket Fries, Co-Owner of A Cricket in the House on Jefferson street, says the homegoods and antique store is only about 15% down from where they were this time last year.

“Which I think is pretty good considering how we got started in the middle of the year,” said Fries. “I kind of attribute that to people being home a lot and wanting somehting new for the house that they’re now working from. I kind of think that’s why businesses like ours are staying afloat.”

The holiday season being a crucial time for revenue, this could be a sink or swim moment for a lot of small businesses, making shopping local as important as ever.

“A lot of people are going to be struggling to be in business at the beginning of the year if this is a bad 4th quarter,” said Fries. “It’s really important to not send your money out into Amazon land.”

Forward SGF hosted Brad Segal, a national leader in consulting for Downtowns all across the country. Segal believes the near future could provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs looking for a way to rebound in downtown areas.

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