EUGENE, Ore. -- After several shutdowns, reopening phases and now a two-week freeze, businesses say they will do whatever it takes to remain afloat.
For small, local businesses, the fight to survive comes with some extra challenges.
Jamie Goulding is the manager and buyer for Passionflower Design in Eugene.
“It’s been challenging,” Goulding said. “We've been lucky enough to keep our staff employed. We have developed and updated our website to accommodate more online shopping. We've limited the number of customers in the store at a time.”
Goulding said they're grateful to have a loyal customer base, after being downtown for about 30 years. She said this time of year is typically very busy for the store but due to obvious reasons that's not the case this time around.
“I just can't say how much we appreciate the support of our customers,” Goulding said. “We're just trying to do the best we can, like everyone else.”
Goulding shared why supporting your local businesses during this holiday shopping season is crucial.
“Shopping local is more important now than ever, if you want to see people stick around for another year,” Goulding said. “It’s also just supporting the people that you see everyday. Places like Amazon, eBay -- they're going to be just fine. If you can spend your dollars locally, you're just supporting the people that are your neighbors, your family, your friends and making sure that all of those people get to keep their jobs.”
Passionflower Design is running their annual holiday promotion through Sunday, with another promotion coming up on Cyber Monday.
When Eugene Toy and Hobby had to shut down temporarily in March, staff said they received a large amount of support from the community. Since then, they’ve updated their website and have relied on their drive-thru orders because there hasn’t been as much foot traffic recently.
They also weighed in on the importance of shopping local this season.
“It's just supporting your neighbors, your friends and your families,” manager Andrew Agerter said. “We're the people who are also here to go to other local businesses, shop locally at grocery stores and then keeping our kids in the communities. Driving our local economy is really what keeps us going, so we'd like to see other people do that too.”
With 87 years of service in the community, Agerter said they’re grateful for those who do choose to support the small business community.
“It really is just adjusting to the times,” Agerter said. “This is not something any of us thought we’d be in. We just have to adjust on the fly.”
Okon Udosenata is the founder of Equiano Coffee in Eugene, a business about to reach eight years of service.
“I’m pretty much taking everything one week at a time,” Udosenata said. “In the very beginning back in March, it was very confusing because there wasn't a whole lot of information. It was terrifying on so many different sides.”
Since then, Udosenata has re-organized his shop and now runs on takeout orders. He shared his thoughts on why shopping local could make or break small businesses amid the pandemic.
“When you walk through Eugene, you see so many businesses closed,” Udosenata said. “It’s a bit alarming to see how it's caught up to the city. I feel like this is something that's been happening slowly over time. Now, COVID has accelerated it. A lot of the small guys can’t compete. It's so important, because you get so much more for your investment. By investing in them, you get better service and quality.”
While Black Friday looked much different than in years past, many are gearing up for Small Business Saturday.
The National Retail Federation said consumers are expected to spend over $730 billion this holiday season.