Historically, holiday sales have made up for shortfalls in year-round revenue for small businesses in the South Bronx as elsewhere.
But some business owners in Longwood’s main shopping district along Southern Boulevard say they’re not optimistic amid steady declines in sales revenue they have seen during Christmas season in recent years.
Online shopping and the incursion of big box stores, notably including the announcement of a new Burlington Coat Factory outlet that will soon open in Mott Haven, has many in the area worried that the upcoming holiday season won’t help sagging sales.
Though many customers say they prefer shopping at local small businesses to big box stores, many are shopping online or at one-stop behemoths like the Gateway Mall, hoping to save a few bucks.
Some small business owners say that mall customers will overpay for name brands, even though small businesses provide more personal service. In order to cope, some are using social media to attract customers, while others plan to start selling their products online.
Others are extending the hours of their brick and mortar operations to increase their chances of pulling in customers. For some small businesses, the trend has led to the painful consequence of laying off employees in recent years.
The Express visited several mom and pop stores on Southern Boulevard in Longwood to take the pulse of area businesses as the holiday season kicks in, and see how they plan to weather the storm of competition from the internet and big boxes. The Express spoke with a dozen local businesses about their prospects this December and beyond. See what they have to say in the slideshow below.