It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on local businesses. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, over 50 local bars and food businesses closed for good in 2020 and many businesses are still struggling to stay afloat. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been rolled out, many local businesses are beginning to re-open and locals are looking to help their city build back up again.
Local Flea Markets and ShoptheROC
Many Rochester programs started up during the pandemic to help keep residents and businesses supported and to help prepare for the post-COVID recovery. One popular program is ShoptheROC, a local campaign encouraging locals and city visitors to buy from local shops, restaurants, and service providers. Shopping locally not only helps to support local businesses but also helps the city flourish. For instance, there are approximately 1.8 billion websites operating at the same time every day and Amazon Web Services alone has a peak traffic volume of 2.3 Tbps. During the pandemic, Amazon’s profits soared by 220%.
By shopping locally, more than 50% of money spent on local goods is re-circulated back into the Rochester economy. According to the City of Rochester, when a consumer spends $100 at local restaurants, shops, and bars, approximately $68 stays in the local economy. This not only helps to boost local businesses but also helps to financially support Rochester’s neighborhoods.
The Lucky Flea and other flea markets that have been popping up around Rochester’s NOTA neighborhood also aim to help boost the local economy while supporting entrepreneurs, artists, residents, and food trucks. The Lucky Flea, sponsored by Lucky Strike Company, consists of over 60 vendors and was coordinated to encourage Rochesterians to shop sustainably while supporting entrepreneurs and businesses impacted by the pandemic. Because the market is outdoors, Rochesterians can shop safely while reducing their risk of spreading COVID-19. For those who haven’t been vaccinated, it’s recommended to wear a face mask and social distance.
While many Rochester businesses have closed around local neighborhoods during the pandemic, many new businesses are helping the city regrow. In the South Wedge, Harry G’s NY Deli and Cafe on 678 South Ave announced on its Facebook page back in April that it would be closing after several years in business. Like many Rochester businesses, the restaurant loved the community but couldn’t afford to stay open due to the pandemic’s financial hit. Fortunately, now that businesses are reopening, new shops are seeing renewed customer activity.
Poke Sushi, which opened next to Harry G’s four months ago, has been steadily thriving and Happy Earth Tea recently had its own grand reopening. Poke Sushi owner Adam Hamilton says the neighborhood is fantastic and that they’ve been blessed by the local customer base. Two more businesses are expected to take root in the South Wedge in 2021.