Local small business owners banking on COVID-19 vaccine to help boost sales


PNC economists predict vaccines are key to making sure small businesses survive

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – A new survey says about half of small businesses expect vaccine availability will help grow their sales in the coming months. A couple of locally-owned businesses in Columbiana agree.

Attracting more tourists and allowing for town events. Small business owners hope COVID-19 vaccines will boost business.

“I think now that the vaccines are available, I think people will be less fearful to go out in public,” said Jere Lefever, co-owner of Generations Cafe.

PNC economists predict vaccines are key to making sure small businesses survive.

“The biggest drag on the economy right now isn’t having money in consumers’ pockets with unemployment insurance benefits and stimulus payments — we have that. It’s just that people don’t feel safe yet coming into high-density places,” said Bill Adams, PNC senior economist.

Rhonda Pahanish, owner of antique store Primitive Gatherings, says sales have been better than she expected this past year. But she says some of her regular customers have been wary to shop in-person.

“I know I’ve had some conversations on Facebook with some of them that they’ll be so happy when they can get back in and visit with us and shop with us,” Pahanish said.

PNC says more than two in three businesses plan to keep COVID-19 modifications permanently. Generations Cafe expects to do that to keep customers safe and happy, including having a new curbside pickup setup.

“We currently have available, just not through an app or a website. I’ve actually about to pull the trigger on that. I think it’s necessary to stay relevant in this type of situation,” Lefever said.

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