KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the landscape for Kansas City, Missouri's small businesses as many have struggled to survive.
Nearly seven months into the pandemic, several shops have closed for good, while others are adjusting or even expanding.
The Country Club Plaza gained a new store on Saturday as Nickel & Suede held its grand opening. The store, located at 232 Nichols Road, sits across from the Apple Store.
"I’m from Kansas City, so this is just a dream come true to have this spot," said Kilee Nickels, CEO and Founder of Nickel and Suede. "The Plaza is such a destination, and there’s so many people that come in and bring their friends and bring their family."
Even during a pandemic, Nickels wanted to open her third store.
"We said, 'Yeah, we’re going to do it,' and so we’re just leaning into optimism and feel like, you know what, people are going to, retail is not going away," Nickels said.
There was a line out the door hours before the store opened, and the amount of customers remained steady throughout the day.
"I think it’s really good for Kansas City and the growth here," said shopper Kristen Minner.
On the flipside, other businesses like Ruby Jean's Juicery have struggled.
"Our sales have drastically declined during the pandemic," said Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean's Juicery. "We’ve closed a location. We’ve temporary closed another location, so we’ve condensed to just our 30th and Troost location."
But they're using this time to adjust and hold pop-up events like the one Saturday and Sunday in partnership with Halls in Crown Center. Ruby Jean's is selling juice and T-shirts with 15% of the profits going to Operation Breakthrough, which provides safe and educational environments for children in poverty.
"[It's] a way to create a rising tide to together and also give back and have that heart posture of giving even in the midst of our challenges," Goode said.
It's a challenge to urge people to shop local and keep their money in the community to help businesses survive the pandemic. But for Goode, "it couldn’t be more important than right now."
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