COVID-19 Industry Impacts – Small Businesses



YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) We’re continuing to check in on area industries as we’ve passed the 6 month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the final industry in our series, we take a look at small businesses.

Business leaders say small businesses are the backbone of any city’s economy.

“What it takes to run a small business is you wear a lot of hats. You need to know a little bit about a lot of different subjects,” says, Tom George from Winthrop’s Small Business Development Center.

Owner of Om Yoga, Maria Lages, says, “Like so many other businesses like we’re probably at 50% in our sales and our attendance.”

“It’s been difficult. I mean I think for every business it’s been difficult. We’ve managed to kind of keep going and ride along and manage to stay through it,” says Jennifer McAliley, owner of KatyLoo Boutique in Fort Mill. “But it’s definitely put a bit of a down, down damper on our business.”

The U.S. Chamber reports, nearly 8 in 10 small businesses say they are still concerned about the pandemic’s impact on business. Winthrop’s small business development leaders say more entrepreneurs need to consider a pivot.

“When you have an issue with your business, you need to be creative and I think a mindset that an entrepreneur has is that they don’t give up. They see this as an obstacle in an opportunity,” says George.

Lages, who’s been in the Fort Mill area for 10, plus years shifted to offer classes online.

“Sometimes when things like that happen you don’t have the choice you just have to adjust and try and figure out ways to keep people exercising and keep them happy,” says Lages. “So we wanted to be able to offer people that option so if they’re scared to come in — even though we’re following all the guidelines and we’re cleaning everything very thoroughly –we wanted to give them the option to maintain their practice from home.”

Other businesses like Katy Loo have not only been able to stay afloat during this time, but also expand.

“We have a new location and it’s a crazy time to have upgraded and found a bigger space — but we are in a much bigger space and we kept the old location and open the children’s story. Again, more crazy that we’re opening a new business during this time, a big wrisk, but I think it was needed and we’ve had a lot of support.”

“We always tell people that you need to have a business plan. But maybe having a resiliency, contingency plan should be a part of that business plan as we move forward,” says George.

In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with business leaders about operating in the pandemic.

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