Looming shutdown and bleak holiday sales outlook concerns small business owners | KOB 4
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Looming shutdown and bleak holiday sales outlook concerns small business owners

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: November 17, 2020 10:38 PM
Created: November 17, 2020 10:30 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As Black Friday approaches, some small business owners are worried they won't be able to reap the benefit because of the statewide shutdown. 

Mom-and-pop shops like Stone Mountain Bead Gallery in Nob Hill are just one of many small businesses that are really hurting. Owner Robert Steinberg said he’s considering borrowing against his house just to stay in business. 

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"I don't know. It's pretty grim out there right now,” he said.

Steinberg said his bills are starting to pile up. 

"I still got mortgages, car payments, tons of utility payments, accountants, taxes—I would like to pay my employee, but I have to let her sit at home now too,” he said. 

Steinberg said it’s particularly painful to be barred from allowing customers inside when his big-box store competitors like Hobby Lobby continue to operate. 

"Hobby Lobby, which can have 75 people, but I can't have one or two people in my store? Who is the greater danger to the community?” he said.

On top of the pandemic, the upcoming holiday shopping season is an additional stressor. 

"We're coming into the holiday season so this is rather scary,” Steinberg said.

Rachel Sams with Albuquerque Business First said with so many layoffs and no stimulus money in sight, a bleak Black Friday and slower holiday shopping season might be coming regardless. 

"That week of retail, when some retailers might have really made a lot of their sales for the year— if that does not happen this year, I do expect you will see more stores decide to close down,” she said.

"It's going to be very hard for any small retail business to get by this year,” Steinberg added. 

Steinberg said he’s not holding his breath for the shutdown to end in two weeks. 

"I'm not sure I believe it's only going to be two weeks,” he said. “Because the results will just start coming in and it could turn into four weeks, and there goes Christmas."

KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office about big-box stores continuing to operate and a spokesperson said that the public health order was written to consider the needs of urban and rural areas. 

Under the letter of the law, large retailers are permitted to operate with a minimal number of people in the store. However, businesses that violate the spirit of the law put New Mexicans at risk. The governor said businesses should not be operating as normal and people should shelter in place. 


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