The holiday season is traditionally one of the busiest shopping times of the year. But with COVID-19 prevalent in the area and region-wide restrictions in place, local businesses aren’t sure what to expect.
“As we all know, this has been an incredibly difficult year for business in mainstream America,” said Downtown Naperville Alliance Executive Director Katie Wood. “So yes the worry is definitely there. But the creativity, the energy, and the determination to see this through is admirable and stronger than ever.”
Businesses have been forced to adapt for months, and now is no different. Anderson’s Bookshop held a pre-Cyber Monday sale on November 16, which they said more than doubled their previous Cyber Monday record.
“We knew going into this weeks ago that we were going to have to start pushing shopping even earlier,” said Anderson’s manager Kris Nugent. “So, we were trying to get people geared up early because in a lot of cases, getting supplies in has been trickier.”
But even with the success of that sale, there are still obstacles in front of local businesses like Anderson’s.
“We’ve adapted but not everything is available to shop online on our website, so that’s a stumbling block,” said Nugent. “And that’s something for a lot of small businesses that is probably difficult for them.”
Outside of Downtown
As a paint-it-yourself ceramics studio, Color Me Mine in south Naperville has also been hit quite hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic. But they’re hoping to bring in extra sales this season by tweaking their business model.
“While business is down from the traditional walk-in type of customer, we are taking appointments, we are providing kits to go, people can come in and pick up their merchandise, take it home and bring it back,” said owners Katherine and Todd Ashby. “So we’ve become more flexible in the way we make our products available to our customers.”
And while businesses get creative, the DNA and other groups are asking shoppers to think locally.
“It’s a reminder to the community to please support local,” said Wood. “The allure of shopping online and having it show up on your doorstep is real, it’s hard to defend that. Nonetheless, if you just go the extra step and actually support our local businesses, it will keep them in operation.”
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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