Local businesses affected by COVID hoping to have a successful holiday season

Story and photo by Nikki McKim

The 2020 holiday season could be crucial for some small businesses who are attempting to end the year strong after being ravaged by COVID. 

Small, independently-owned businesses are a vital part of the local economy and they have felt the impact of the pandemic. 

“We were closed the last two weeks of March, all of April and the first two weeks of May. We did have a big loss of revenue during that time,” said Tammy Beckner, owner of Prairie Sky Antiques and Consignment Shop. 

Chris Eickhoff, the owner of Heritage Falls Candles and Gifts, echoed the sentiment, “Our store has been affected by COVID, by not having as many out of town customers, but increased sales from our community,” 

Eickhoff said they have to pay higher prices for their supplies, and it’s harder to get the supplies they need. 

Small businesses and restaurants are spread throughout Falls City, providing unique gift ideas that cannot be found online or at large chain stores. Falls City business owners are hoping local shoppers seek out these local businesses while Christmas shopping this year. Local businesses hope the community can see what they have to offer, while these businesses do their best to protect shoppers and make them feel safe while in their stores. 

“The first part of November, I began to require masks to be worn in the shop. The vast majority of our customers have cooperated with no issues. We anticipate December sales will surpass those of December 2019 by a good margin,” said Beckner.

Heritage Falls has been more specific on cleaning and sanitizing for their customers and staff’s safety and is also making home deliveries and curbside sales, all while wearing masks while working and out shopping. 

Most local businesses go the extra mile for their customers by delivering curbside or to the home. Small and independently owned businesses can offer services to local customers to best help their community, not just during the holidays but year-round. 

Kim Kruse at Memory Lane said she is so grateful to have customers still coming through all of this and is thankful for how patient the community has been with the hours of operation at the store. Kruse is also working outside the store, working hands on in homes, “We offer painting, wall repair, custom blinds, shades and curtains, and also do tile work. We are back to our normal hours of operation now, but hours may vary in January. We are always open for appointments, so don’t hesitate to message us,” said Kruse. 

Local businesses are often locally owned and even managed by people who invest back in the community. They are the people who support the summer recreation teams, post-prom and other community fundraisers; now it’s time to show our support for them. It’s safer to shop locally rather than go out of town and shop in the bigger cities in these unprecedented times. 

Heading out of town is the most effective way to be exposed to coronavirus and carrying it back into the community we’re all trying to protect. 

The best Christmas gifts aren’t always in the mall or an hour or two away, they can be found right here in Falls City and your friends and fellow community members are so grateful for your support. 

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for our community being so supportive,” said Eickhoff. Tammy Beckner also wanted to thank the local and surrounding communities for their support over the past year, “With all the restrictions due to covid and with so many options at their fingertips, we are grateful for their patronage,” said Beckner.

Local businesses are the backbone of any community and it’s a small effort that can go a long way for Falls City. Christmas is more about giving than receiving and that’s what we can do during this challenging year, give back to our community by showing up and supporting our friends, neighbors, City and County. 

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