Survey shows sales increasing for Hampton Roads small businesses, confidence for improvement

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Posted at 4:03 PM, Jun 07, 2021

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Sue Coyne has experienced a lot with her Norfolk salon, Studio East Salon Spa.

“It means everything. I’ve invested my whole entire life of the last 15 years,” Coyne told News 3. “We’ve went through the recession of 2008-2009, made it through that, and now we’ve gone through a world pandemic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her business and brought folks together to help her.

“We didn’t have anything to sell curbside,” she said. “Our clients, our community - they were calling in. I came in every day, and they would call and buy gift cards, which they’ve never redeemed. It was to help us pay the bills until we figured out what was next.”

“I think without that, I don’t know how we would’ve gotten through because I think it was the strength of knowing that the customers wanted us here, and that they had our back,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kim Kellogg said her Yorktown consignment shop and DIY studio, Lilac Lane, has maintained steady sales during this time.

“I think that we were able to offer a service that people wanted,” Kellogg said. “It’s taught us a lot about community and coming together as a community.”

Both told News 3 as of April, their sales are going up.

“2019-2020, and then 2020-2021, our sales have doubled,” Kellogg said. “Our sales are probably as close to 2019 as I can ask for with. That being said, I have less employees,” Coyne said.

Both were two of more than 100 small businesses across Hampton Roads that took part in Retail Alliance's "Retail Pulse" survey in April.

“Now that restrictions have eased a little bit, we wanted to start looking forward,” Kylie Ross Sibert, VP Corporate Communications for Retail Alliance said. “This was a little bit more about their optimism.”

According to April’s survey, when asked, 43% of businesses saw a spike in April sales compared to pre-pandemic, up from 14% growth in October and 26% growth in January.

“We’ve found that businesses that operated, say, a combination of things - whether they’re retail but also do service, or whether it was a restaurant that also did catering - they were more likely to have growth,” Sibert said.

The survey also shows more than half of businesses say they're very or extremely confident their business will improve over the next six months.

“What was great to see was that 0% actually were not at all confident,” Sibert said. “It’s a huge improvement on the optimism.”

“I think that the question that we asked about their optimism for the future really showed that there is positivity amongst the industry,” Sibert added.

This data is providing hope for those like Coyne and Kellogg, pointing that their business is heading in a new direction.

“I think that resilience of a small business owner is the greatest thing to see,” Kellogg said.

“I think it just gives everybody a unity that we’re all together, and we are trying to get to the next phase of this,” Coyne said.

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