LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — One of the industries that have taken a huge hit during this pandemic is retail, and some locally-owned clothing store owners say if there’s another Safer at Home order, they may go out of business for good.
Fighting back tears, Alexis Crouse fears her dream children’s clothing boutique is on the brink of going out of business if coronavirus cases continue to rise.
L.A. County health officials said if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, another installation of the Safer at Home Order will be issued for three weeks, which will restrict leaving the home for non-essential activities.
“My husband and I run this together,” Crouse said about her clothing store. “He runs the back end and takes care of our child during the day and I’m here and we’re not trying to get rich. We’re trying to pay our bills and make a living.”
For many small business owners, making a living is becoming harder, especially now right before the holidays as COVID-19 cases go up, fewer people are coming in to shop.
Crouse started Abigail’s Kids Closet, a store carrying mostly sustainable clothes by local designers, in Agoura Hills shortly before the pandemic hit.
“I see the ebb and flow of people. Okay, so cases are going down, okay, people are coming out,” Crouse said. “But in a typical day, I see maybe 5, 6 or 7 customers.”
Other business owners like Crouse are living similar dire experiences.
Nearby, two stay-at-home moms started their dream clothing store, The Beach Barn and they too say if cases continue to rise, forcing people to stay home more, they may have to close shop.
“Having the possibility of another lockdown, every day we’re like is today the day we’re closing?” said Nina Ishibashi of Beach Barn. “Is today the day we’re going to have zero people in the store? It’s been stressful.”
Both stores, along with countless others in the Southland and nationwide, are trying to be as creative as possible to accommodate shoppers by offering online purchases, curbside pick-up and other convenient options.
Ishibashi and Crouse are pleading to their community to shop locally during the holidays to help out small businesses that are struggling.