Some small business owners remain confident entering final stretch of holiday shopping season


VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for Cradle + Bee in Cahaba Heights, but owner Bryson Kessler remains confident the business will be okay.

That’s because it’s survived other challenges in the past.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking a little bit,” Kessler said. But at the end of the day, we went through the recession. There are so many things that we’ve been through, and I know that retail and small business is strong and that we band together and we will get through this.”

Sales are a little down at the women’s clothing shop this holiday season, according to Kessler. Some of that is because of the lack of holiday parties this year. Customers don’t have as many to attend, so they don’t need to buy new outfits.

It’s the latest curveball the pandemic has thrown small businesses, and Cradle + Bee isn’t the only business affected. Ryan Reeve, also a women’s clothing store in Cahaba Heights, had to change some of its strategies and merchandise. Those changes have helped keep business going.

“My motto is: just take one day at a time and be grateful for what you have,” Beth Keplinger, owner of Ryan Reeve said.

Business is slightly ahead of where it was this time last year, according to Keplinger. But she’s not taking anything for granted in the final stretch before Christmas.

“You never know,” she said. “We just are grateful for what we have. We’re grateful for our customers, and we just take one day at a time.”

Keplinger and Kessler say the community has been supportive of small businesses through the pandemic, and it’s made a big difference in keeping these businesses afloat.

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