Lincoln business feels the effects of coronavirus threat

Local small business owners feel the changes the novel coronavirus is bringing. While many are closing their doors, a few are trying to stay open.
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The From Nebraska Gift Shop, located on ‘Q’ street in Lincoln’s Haymarket.

There’s no doubt that businesses both large and small are feeling the effects the coronavirus is having. People are over–buying at big box stores, but not buying anything from local businesses.

Empty parking spots across downtown Lincoln says a lot about what’s happening in our community and across the nation. Local business owners tell Channel 8 Eyewitness News that this pandemic is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.

“After being in retail for 40 years I’ve never ever seen the government try to tell me what to do as a business owner,” Says Barb Ballard, the owner of the From Nebraska Gift Shop in Lincoln’s Haymarket.

Ballard says with guidelines from the government as well as concern for community spread of the coronavirus, their day to day operations have dramatically changed.

“We’re providing curb–side pickup, so if you need something, a birthday gift or something at work, you can call us we’ll bring it right out to you, were just taking credit cards over the phone,” she says. “We’ve started cancelling orders so orders we were intending to receive in march in April to get ready for our tourist season, were already starting to cancel those cause we know were not going to go through the merchandise we already have.”

Ballard says the 10–person rule isn’t their biggest concern. Since people are already staying home, business has already gone down.

The biggest hit the store took coming from the boys state basketball tournament. No fans at the games meant less customers in her store.

“This weekends cash receipts were down 70 percent, we only did 30 percent of what we did in 2019 during the weekend of boys state basketball,” Ballard says.

For now, Ballard’s hope is just to keep the store open as long as possible. Providing her employees with jobs and keeping their connection with the community.

Categories: Consumer News, Coronavirus, Lancaster