CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – One year ago the Coronavirus Pandemic hit the United States and forced all businesses to close their doors to the public.
Since then, it’s been a bumpy road for businesses as they respond to guideline changes, mask mandates, and limited store capacities.
Chattanooga businesses say they remember the moment they were first told they had to close.
“It was like WHATTT. I don’t think we ever could have imagined it would happen like that. It’s not something we ever would have considered to happen. It was crazy,” says Rebecca Angel, No Baked Cookie Dough Employee.
“We had to cancel all the easter dresses. Cancel all the white graduation dresses that come in in May. We had to start from scratch and start thinking our whole world is about to change here,” says Cindy Jayne, Owner of Belle Rive Boutique.
Most businesses say they have had to depend more on online sales, delivery services and rearranging how they do business.
“ I haven’t had the people connection that I normally have when I am in the store. That’s the joyous part of it. It really makes you put your nose to the grindstone and dig deep into what’s important to you. What do you want to represent. I have always thought you have to be unique or you wont make it,” says Jayne.
Though this year has been challenging, local businesses say they are finally seeing an uptick in sales and are hopeful for the future.
“Business is actually really good right now. With the weather warming up so many people are walking at Coolidge and downtown. We are really excited for this summer too,” says Angel.
“Stay hopeful and stay positive. Please shop local. Please stay with us. Help us through this. We can do it but we can’t do it without you,” says Jayne.