It’s no secret that threats to the local retail economy are vast and growing. Amazon—and more broadly, the entire internet—represents an existential danger to just about every retail business on the planet. With the endless promise of online convenience and cost-cutting, consumer expectations have shifted as well.
What follows should have been a snapshot of the retail environment in Greater Peoria circa April 2020—a portrait of mom-and-pop retailers battling the Amazons of the world, evolving with the times and working hard to create a customer experience you can’t find online. And then came the coronavirus.
All over the country, extreme measures are being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and they are essential for public health. They are also decimating the retail economy, laying waste to each and every carefully made plan and projection. With the closure of businesses across Illinois and the nation, uncertainty is all there is right now. And yet, we adapt and carry on.
When we emerge from this crisis, local retailers will face all of the same challenges… and then some. Now more than ever, we must support them—our friends and our neighbors—by shopping local.