‘Trying to feed the family:’ A struggle for Somerville business owners as they look toward the future

Some restaurants and shops in New Jersey will soon have an opportunity to serve their customers in person again, and it’s been a struggle for many retailers over the past couple of months.

News 12 Staff

Jun 4, 2020, 11:52 AM

Updated 1,418 days ago

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Some restaurants and shops in New Jersey will soon have an opportunity to serve their customers in person again, and it’s been a struggle for many retailers over the past couple of months.
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"I would say 100% of our businesses have felt some type of a negative impact," says Natalie Pineiro, with Somerville Downtown Alliance.

The coronavirus pandemic has created serious challenges for many businesses around the country, and in Somerville, a borough with a vibrant downtown, businesses are feeling the effects.
"I'm trying to keep a roof over my head and trying to feed the family,” says Rand Pitts, owner of Evolve Men's Clothing Boutique. “It's been very difficult shutting down my dream."

A few businesses in Somerville have shuttered their doors permanently. Pitts is one of the lucky ones to weather the storm, forced to reinvent the way he does business today and in the future.

"My store was first,” says Pitts. “My online was kind of additional complementary, but I totally switched that strategy now."

While all of the business owners that spoke with News 12 support the right to protest and acknowledged recent peaceful protests in the town, there are concerns over the potential of damage to their stores during the already challenging times.

"I hope the people that come here feel the sense of pride that we have here for businesses and for our town," says Pineiro.

Owners look toward the future as they prepare for outdoor dining and in-store shopping to reopen on June 15 across the state.

"I hope that people are not afraid to come out and support,” says Penny Milligan, owner of Hungry Hound. “We need you more than ever right now."

The Somerville Downtown Alliance says many downtown businesses averaged a 30 to 40 percent loss during the coronavirus shutdown.


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