EVANSTON, IL – Evanston local businesses are hoping to make the most of Small Business Saturday and other promotions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to redefine the Christmas shopping season.
Independent boutiques, gift shops, mom and pop hardware stores, restaurants, and the like in Evanston face unprecedented challenges as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic changes the way Americans do their Christmas shopping.
The list of local businesses participating in Evanston Small Business Saturday continues to grow. Here are some of them:
- Evanston Farmhouse, 703 Church St.
- Smylie Brothers Brewing Co., 1615 Oak Ave.
- Found, 1631 Chicago Avenue.
- Vogue fabrics, 718 Main St.
- Wheel & Sprocket, 1027 Davis St.
- Beck’s Bookstore, 716 Clark St.
- Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave.
- Windy City Garden Center, 2000 Green Bay Road
American Express launched the “Shop Small” movement in 2010 to encourage people to support local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Since then, it has grown into a year-round effort to encourage people to support the mom and pop and local businesses in Evanston and elsewhere in the country.
Last year, Americans spent around $ 20 billion on small business on Saturday, slightly more than the year before.
It’s important to support local businesses, according to American Express, which estimates that 67 cents of every dollar spent goes to the local community. That adds up to about $ 67 billion that has remained in local communities since Small Business Saturday began, according to the financial services firm.
An American Express survey of Shop Small Consumer Impact before the pandemic found that 73 percent of people believe empty shop windows is a national problem, and 84 percent agree that empty shop windows are increasing and smaller, smaller ones are closing. of independent companies negatively impacts their local communities.
The survey found that if they were aware of the implications of spending their money locally, 75 percent of consumers would be more likely to buy a product or service from small, independent businesses.
Small businesses have been hit by the pandemic, according to a study by economist Susan Woodward. The study examined the bank deposits of nearly 1 million small businesses with 10 or fewer employees from all major sectors and industries in the first year of the pandemic.
The study, commissioned by Intuit QuickBooks, examined the bank deposits of the approximately 1 million small businesses that use the company’s software, as well as anonymized, aggregated user data.
In Illinois, small businesses fell 25 percent in the first full year of the pandemic.
Retailers and personal care companies such as hairdressers and hair salons were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, but have recovered more strongly than other industries, according to the study.
- Personal care companies saw sales more than half (52 percent) decline at the start of the pandemic, but reported sales 16 percent above pre-pandemic levels by March 2021.
- Clothing stores reported that their sales had declined 50 percent, or about $ 10,000 per company, in April 2020. In March 2021, revenue was 14 percent above pre-pandemic levels.
In general, Woodward’s study also showed:
- The biggest impact the pandemic had on small business revenue was in April 2020, when revenue fell 22 percent nationwide, equivalent to $ 4.6 billion in that month alone.
- The top performers last year were home improvement and real estate companies. Annual mortgage banker revenue rose 30 percent from pre-pandemic levels – an average increase of $ 147,000 per company.
- The leisure industry has had some of the hardest hit small businesses. For example, annual bowling alley revenues declined 33 percent through March 2021, an average decrease of more than $ 250,000 per company.
- Small businesses in high-density metropolitan areas – especially in states on the east and west coasts – have had a greater financial impact from the pandemic. The hardest hit are New York City, especially Brooklyn, and San Francisco.
Patch staff contributed to this.