At the beginning of the pandemic, multiple business had to close their stores due to COVID-19. Big corporate businesses were able to slowly start opening their stores again after given the ok to open, but some had to close down for good. Some small business, like vintage thrift shops in the San Marcos area, made plans to open up their shops and continue sales all while following social distancing mandates and implementing safety rules to keep them and their customers safe.
What’s happening to small vintage shop businesses through the COVID-19 Pandemic?
2020 the year just about everyone anticipated to be their big year has now unfortunately become the year of lockdowns and mandatory social distancing due to COVID-19. Everyone in some way has been affected personally and economically. Big corporation business that had to be closed down were able to start back up after the lockdown was lifted, but smaller local business found it hard to do the same. Of those small businesses that are finding it harder to start back up are local vintage thrift shops in the San Marcos, Texas.
San Marcos is a small city that contains a population of 64,776 people. Residents say it has more of a small town feeling that circles around Texas State University. With the spread of the corona virus many local thrift shops have been experiencing less and less sales. Avery Rapson, the social media and Depop manager for Monkies Vintage,said that the store is still struggling because of fewer people coming to the shop. Monkies is a small Vintage resale store located in San Marcos.
With it being a vintage thrift shop people are less likely to want to shop at a place that sells used clothing that comes from other people and places said Rapson. People are worried that clothing can be contaminated with the coronavirus and bring it on to them. The same goes both ways with the store not accepting clothes from customers to be traded for in store clothing or them buying clothes from customers for store credit/money back. “we had to close down for a little bit completely and opted to selling online, which is a lot slower and even still our hours are cut.” “for a little bit we didn’t accept trading or buying [clothes from customers] because we didn’t want to risk any sort of contamination between buying stuff… we’ve seen a decrease [in people wanting to trade/sale.]” said Rapson.
With coronavirus being easily contracted many shops that outsource for their merchandise from other states, people, and stores like local vintage shops are worried for their safety and the safety of others. David Marrs, owner of Vagabond Vintage, also located in San Marcos, worried that with the lockdown in place it meant that he wouldn’t be able to go out and buy new pieces to restock his store. “It’s been a little scary because I’m old. I’ve probably already spent $1000 dollars on masks just to give away to customers.” “…It’s a little hard for me to source out some of my merchandise sometimes because some of the places, like where I get boots, are flea markets so some of them haven’t been open or they’re not open when I’m used to them being open.” Said Marrs.
Another thing Marrs and others were worried about was how long the lockdown would be in place. Many of the shops like Monkies have found ways to continue sales online through social media and platforms like Depop, but for some going online just isn’t an option due to the store being ran by few people.
Now with the lockdown lifted both shops have been open for business and are taking safety precautions to ensure the safety of themselves, their employees, and customers. Mandatory face covering is demanded in both shops with the practicing of social distancing as well. Both Rapson and Marrs mentioned that each clothing item that is sold is sanitized along with the store so people can shop worry free of being contracted with the corona virus.
Small businesses, like these vintage shops, do not have the funds like large corporation companies do to lift themselves out of trouble with the snap of a finger, but with the communities help they can continue to do what they love to do. Although we are still in a Pandemic, store owners ask that if you are able to and can it’s important to support your local small businesses. Through the pandemic, shop owners and employees have shown what resilience they have as they move forward to continue their businesses and adapt new ways to keep themselves and their customers safe.
A look into how small local vintage thrift shops are doing through a global pandemic: experience’s and plans
When the coronavirus pandemic called for a city mandate requiring all nonessential businesses to close, small local businesses, like vintage thrift stores, Vagabond Vintage, and Monkies Vintage located in San Marcos Texas were frightened for the future of their stores. Since the beginning of the lift, both shops have now been finding ways to creatively continue their sales all while protecting their customers, employees, and themselves.