Crowds return to small businesses this holiday season despite rising COVID-19 cases

Reporter: Annette Montgomery
Small Business Saturday
Crowds are flocking to small businesses to prepare for the holidays. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Small businesses in Southwest Florida are seeing the crowds they missed last year during the pandemic.

Even though COVID-19 cases continue to climb, it isn’t making people stray away from shopping. Some people are saying they feel safe venturing out because of the vaccines.

“I think it’s getting better because last year with COVID, I think people were home and they weren’t coming out a lot but I think everybody is here now in town,” said Juan Padilla, assistant store manager at Wynn’s Market.

Business owners think people are also coming to Southwest Florida to get away from the COVID-19 rules in other places.

Linda Maloney, a sales associate at Twice as Nice Consignment, said she believes it’s been one of the best Christmas seasons for the store.

At Wholesome Hound, employee Savannah Spina said it’s been busy the last two days.

“More people are coming out, more people are back into Naples. So, more people are showing up in-store and in-person,” Spina said.

The bigger problem is stores can’t keep their shelves stocked.

“A lot of our dog food that we normally carry is getting harder and harder to get,” Spina said.”We’re kind of having to supplement with other options but toys are easy it’s the food that’s hard.”

Padilla said he is having issues with paper goods and cans because there is a shortage on aluminum.

These small businesses continue to do the one thing the pandemic taught them and that is to push through.

“Obviously, it was different because we were two months not being open but it’s all been very positive. That’s all I can say. It’s just been a really fantastic time for us,” Maloney said.

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