GIBSONBURG, Ohio — This holiday season will be an important one for small businesses that have been hit hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data from the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker based out of Harvard University, small business revenue in the U.S. has decreased by 31% compared to January 2020.
Back in February, Lauren Haker opened a shop called T.L. Hidden Treasures in Gibsonburg to sell custom-made items, home décor and more.
Not as many people were out shopping because of the pandemic, so she had to pivot and closed the store after six months.
She has since been running her business out of her home and has been selling items through Facebook marketplace and offering porch pickup, which is proving successful. But, she encourages the community to shop small and local during Small Business Saturday.
The shopping event was started on Nov. 27, 2010 by American Express and is held during the Saturday after Thanksgiving, during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. It's celebrated nationwide to encourage patronage at brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.
Many small businesses were financially hurt and never really recovered from state lockdowns this year.
"Instead of going to chain stores and stuff like that, it's nice with small businesses, when you're supporting them, you're supporting their families," Haker said. "A lot of small businesses are family owned and that's what they do to make a living and feed themselves and take care of themselves."
Haker is launching a website on Dec. 1 to catch online shoppers and she hopes to get back into a store once the COVID-19 pandemic blows over.