PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — As we approach Christmas, COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Retail has been one of the most affected industries by the pandemic and with the holiday shopping season upon us, local businesses are feeling the effects.
The most recent data from Career Source Gulf Coast regarding retail jobs shows that business owners have been preparing for the holidays.
“It actually showed this year trending the same as the previous five years where positions are still being advertised for,” said Brittany Rock, Career Source Gulf Coast PIO. “We saw about a 300 job increase for retail trade positions.”
This year, some local business owners were shocked by Black Friday sales.
Owners of local boutique, Plum Delightful, said they have adapted to COVID-19 by transitioning to more online sales, but said they have still felt the impacts.
“This Black Friday, I don’t know how long we’ve been in business, but this Black Friday has been our hardest yet,” said Julie McDaniel, Plum Delightful co-owner. “Simply because our traffic is 50+ and a lot of 50+-year-olds, like myself, I had cancer, we don’t go outside, we don’t go in groups.”
On the other hand, Fowhound Furniture owner James Johnson said that his business is uniquely resilient to the pandemic.
“This is very much an industry where people want to come and sit and touch and experience what they’re going to buy,” Johnson said.
While business has been good, he says he’s seen more of an impact on the atmosphere of the store.
“There’s a fear factor,” Johnson said. “There’s some people that you can tell that they’re scared. Other people, they’re just feel good to get out and come in some place that welcomes them.”
Both McDaniel and Johnson say that while the market’s future is unknown, they remain optimistic.