EL DORADO, Ark. (06/22/20) — Some business in El Dorado are continuing to struggle during this coronavirus pandemic but hopefully not for long.
Main Street El Dorado and the Downtown Business Association will be hosting a ‘Love Local’ event Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to lure locals back in the shops with this new campaign.
“It’s basically like our First Thursdays but we haven’t been able to do those since the beginning of the year,” Executive Director of Main Street El Dorado, Beth Brumley said.
There will be live music on the square for anyone to listen to while they shop. Lifeshare Donation Center will also be on site for anyone who would like to give blood.
Downtown businesses are equally as excited about the event because it’s been a struggle the past four months with the financial loss of many businesses having to close and with customers not coming out to buy.
Shelly Owens, owner of Shelly’s Shoes, closed her retail store for 7 weeks because the pandemic took an emotional and mental toll on her. She spent that time to reflect on what her business would look like going forward.
After awhile, the necessity to keep her store open, her passion for clothing and her faith in God motivated her to keep going.
Brumley knows it’s been hard for business so Main Street El Dorado and the DBA have been trying to come up with ways to help in any way they can.
“They definitely are hanging on by a thread,” Brumley said. “There have been some assistance out there but we have had businesses that have fallen through the cracks.”
Owens knows the pandemic has kept many people inside their homes with nowhere to go so the desire to shop just isn’t there.
She’s hoping the event this week will bring people out, not just to shop but to interact.
“We’re your neighbors. We’re your friends,” she said. “You don’t have to spend money. Just come see what we’ve got. Come talk to us.”
Many have turned to the big name brand stores for business when it’s the small stores that stay invested in the local communities.
“They don’t sponsor local things like arts center, the schools, the cheerleaders,” she said. “We’re the people who put the money back into the community.”
Owens’ store has adapted to the changes the pandemic has brought and is accepting appointments for anyone that would like to shop in the store without having any other customers inside.
Main Street El Dorado is also selling t-shirts for the event. Visit the website for more information.