'The local community is everything': Businesses encouraging public to shop local during pandemic this holiday season

Posted at 10:58 PM, Nov 18, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As people get ready to hit the stores on Black Friday and even days after, local business owners want shoppers to be intentional and spend their dollars in the community.

“If you are not going to shop local, we are not going to be here,” said Brenda Turing, the owner of The Royal Chocolate.

Turning is doing everything she can to meet her holiday sales.

“We’ve used DoorDash; we are using Grubhub, which is new to us, and it's working out really well,” she adds.

This is just one of many ways the gourmet chocolate shop is adjusting since the pandemic hit.

Local group Retail Alliance surveyed almost 100 local businesses. As you can imagine, more than 75% of them say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their business.

“In the beginning, we had a big slump,” adds Turing.

It’s customers like Sharri Booker who keep the lights on. She tells us she prefers buying local.

“It’s more of the personal touch. You can tell they put a lot of love in what they do,” said Booker.

She says a lot of her Christmas gifts will be purchased from local shops.

“Gift cards from local coffee shops and places such as this,” she adds.

Over at MacArthur Center, the Garden Gazebo is ready for the final quarter of the year. They are only doing 55-60% of their sales due to COVID-19.

“We had to close for several months and then reopen with not much business. We are very hopeful that this holiday season will be a good one,” says owner Pam Katrancha.

She says if you’re looking for unique gift ideas like the garden flags and mats in her shop, think local.

“Everybody has some interest in decorating their home and yard,” adds Katrancha.

Related: New restrictions are limiting how businesses operate throughout Virginia after spike in COVID-19 cases

Local stores are also stepping up their online presence for people who don’t want to play it safe.

“The local community is everything,” adds Turing.

November is Buy Local Month in Virginia. November 28 is Shop Small Saturday.

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