Small businesses struggle ahead of Black Friday

Posted at 10:24 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 22:24:02-05

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — Fishing, grilling and even Santa, are some of the things that have kept feet marching into Sunshine Ace Hardware in Bonita Springs.

That's according to their Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, Scott Hamblen.

"We've had a customer shift," he said.

Hamblen says despite the shift in what they're selling, they're still grateful to be able to keep up with the shift in customer demands, especially during this pandemic.

"Other small businesses have had a much tougher time," he said.

During a week where the store should be its busiest, he adds that they've had to stretch the window for holiday sales to make sure people shop local.

"Local businesses are very important to the community. For a hundred dollars you spend in a local business, 68 dollars goes back into that local community," he said.

It's a sentiment shared by the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce President, John Gardner.

"Small business is the heart of America," he said.

Gardner says businesses are hurting everywhere, but there is also some hope. But that's only if businesses can find a way to boost their online presence, in a time where people just aren't going out as much.

"You know everyone lives with this little device in our pocket now from email, to looking at menus, to ordering whatever to be delivered whenever," said Gardner.

But he also says the burden is on all of us, to show up for those businesses when they need us most.

"If you don't support your local small business, guess what? They go away," he said.

And according to a study from Small Business Majority, it's likely some small businesses will "go away," and likely before we ring in 2021.

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