Cost of Covid: Holiday Spending

Carol+Kaplan%2C+owner+of+Carol%27s+Linen%27s+in+North+Macon%2C+is+making+shopping+accommodations+for+her+customers+during+the+COVID-19+pandemic.+

Amyre Makupson

Carol Kaplan, owner of Carol’s Linen’s in North Macon, is making shopping accommodations for her customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You really can’t compare 2020 to anything else,” said Carol Kaplan, owner of Carol’s Linens in North Macon.

“Our entire experience has changed here; we’ll never probably go back to the way it was before,” said Scott Mitchell, owner of Travis Jean Emporium in downtown Macon.

COVID-19 hit the holiday shopping season hard. Forbes is reporting that on black Friday, what is considered as the beginning of the retail holiday season, sales were off to a slow start; down by 5% this year. Cyber Monday fared no better; it was down 9%.

“There wasn’t a lot of browsing, which is usually – people would spend an hour sometimes in here, but this holiday season – 5 minutes,” said Mitchell.

So to get costumers to spend their money safely, local businesses had to make some changes.

“We’ve expanded our services, we open early for private shopping, we have curbside shopping and virtual,” said Kaplan.

“I built an online store. We had a lot of people that requested curbside pickup. I had private appointments; I would come in early before the store open and meet people,” said Mitchell/Owner.

Changes combined with community support made the cost of Covid-19 not as high as it could have been.

“I would not be in business today if it wouldn’t have been for the love of this community. I mean, people really rallied behind me, not just me. rally behind downtown,” said Mitchell.

“We have been blown away by the number of customers that have wanted – that have told us in the past eight weeks, they wanted to shop local, they wanted to shop small, and they wanted to shop support the local community. And for that we’re just forever grateful,” said Kaplan.

Both shop owners say that small businesses in Macon need your support all year ‘round, not just during the holiday so be sure to check with some of your favorite local retailers to find how they’re ensuring a safe shopping experience.

Originally airing on 13WMAZ.