Small retailers pivoting to digital sales to stay afloat during COVID-19

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Some small retailers in Chicago that are struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic are hoping digital sales can keep them in business.

Doors are closed at CRAM Fashion in Lake View after their business changed overnight.

“We rely on the customers coming into the store. And when everything happened with the COVID-19 we made the decision to close,” said Danny Cairns, CRAM Fashion.

“The only way to for us to generate some income was to set up an online store,” he added.

In Andersonville, another clothing store is trying to find their way in online retail after a busy holiday season.

“It continued through January, February, and the beginning of March. Then? Boom. Then it just changed,” said Matthew Buccilla, Cowboys and Astronauts.

Their online store went live nine months ago, but they’re still looking at steep declines in sales.
 
Buccilla is just one of many others waiting for the nearly $350 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Businesses with less than 500 employees that have been hit by the shutdown can apply for a loan with their bank that can be forgiven.

But it’s a long process and many banks are still waiting on federal guidance.
 
Information on how to support small businesses in Chicago can be found here.

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