Shop owners staying positive on Small Business Saturday despite Coronavirus pandemic

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Small Business Saturday is a chance for people to buy local.

But with the Coronavirus pandemic, this year has been challenging for area shops.

For Carrie Arrouet, owner of Lela Boutique, one of the hardest parts of the year has been not seeing customers.

“It’s our fuel," she said. 

Arrouet explained the pandemic has forced creativity.

Her boutique is now offering new options as curbside shopping and private appointments.

“Although it looks very different we are very, very grateful for all of the customers who have found us in whatever they feel most comfortable," Arrouet said.

One of her customers believes buying local means having local pride.

“And the fact that we’re putting that money there, it’s staying in our community," Milwaukee resident Courtney Roskos said.

Kate Blake said her store, Shoo, is down 40% in revenue.

“If we are not supported we will not last," she said.

Blake said she lost her second store in Madison due to the pandemic and looting.

Shoo, located in Milwaukee, started its holiday sales a day earlier this week.

“Everyone’s trying to capture the dollars that the consumer has because everyone is being very conscious of how they’re spending their money," Blake said.

Shoo shares building space with another local shop, NL Suits.

They’re an appointment-based business.

But like the other stores, owner Nas Laine said loyal customers are also helping them survive.

“People not going to work, it's affecting us," he said. "People not getting married, it’s affecting us. That’s the majority of the business that we do.”

Despite the challenges, each store owner was very positive about the future.

Laine told CBS 58's Kim Shine that “everything passes”.

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