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Local businesses asking for community support ahead of the Holidays

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 7:23 PM EST
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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A local Small Business Center is working overtime to help area small businesses keep their doors open as we continue to struggle with the pandemic. Still, they say they need the community’s help as well.

Small Business Center says Local Businesses need the community's help to continue operating.
Small Business Center says Local Businesses need the community's help to continue operating.(witn)

Deborah Kania is the Director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College. She has spent the last seven months helping the small business community find ways to keep income coming in, which hasn’t been easy because of COVID-19.

“In talking to some restaurants and retailers, they are still maybe at 70% or 50% of what they were last year at this time, they are holding on, but they’ve been impacted significantly. They’re trying to pivot to spin up new ways of working,” said Kania.

For businesses like Jan’s Hallmark Store in New Bern, pivoting for them meant creating a website and utilizing Facebook. “We decided to go to the internet, we were a little late to that game, but we started doing Facebook live shows on Thursday nights, and that drew in quite a crowd, and we love doing it on Thursday’s, and we have a blast,” said Store Manager Jenna Gifford.

Their business closed for two months, and while they are currently open, they say it will be a while before they can recover from their closure. That’s why they are reminding the community that it’s critically important to support small businesses, especially as we head into the holiday season.

“I mean no disrespect when I say that Amazon and Walmart will be just fine, but finding locally owned and operated mom and pop stores that can supply you locally,” said Gifford.

Kania said she agrees and knows that when you’re helping keep your neighbors in business, the money spent stays where you shop locally. “They say 67 cents of every dollar spent locally stays here. That’s pretty significant,” said Kania.

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