Boutique owners on Fifth Avenue not getting the normal Black Friday rush

Black Friday is normally a day full of shopping and shoppers. Yet boutique owners on Fifth Avenue in Naples say this year’s crowd isn’t the same. Big retailers are also taking the hit in 2020.

Many shoppers, if they do go out, are taking steps to stop the spread of coronavirus. There’s social distancing in place and many stores, like Wind in the Willows, requires masks.

Heather Neil is the owner of Silver Eagle Gallery.  “My parents started the business in 1974,” said Neil.

So staying in business is near and dear to her heart. But this year has been extremely stressful. “We were closed for a few months during the pandemic, the beginning of it,” Neil said.

It’s been tough for many family-owned businesses. Victoria Stapp, with Wind in the Willows has been struggling as well.

“A lot of people are shopping online also this year,” said Stapp. “We normally don’t do sales but this year we thought we need to have a little incentive to come out.”

Shops like Wind in the Willows opened on Thanksgiving in hopes that they could draw in some Black Friday shoppers.

“It’s surprised me yesterday we have a busy day! I am so happy because people just coming,” said Stapp.

Coastland Mall’s parking lots were full of cars. and the Apple store in North Naples had a line out the door.

The big box stores saw less business this Black Friday. Which is a good sign for small businesses. People are shopping local again.

“I believe… I believe our customers coming back too. and that is wonderful. We need [to] believe.. business is coming back,” said Stapp.

The store had to cut its employees originally but is now hiring staff again.

Small businesses hope that their unique gifts will be enough to spark shopping on Black Friday and even more so on Small Business Saturday.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Drew Hill
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