Local businesses struggling since stay-at-home order began
COLUMBIA - Several local Columbia businesses are struggling to make ends meet due to the effects of COVID-19.
Consign & Design Boutique, a downtown store, opened back up May 4, but owner Brett Wisman's parents have been running the store since Brett is at high risk. His mother Barbara Wisman said it's been a slow reopening for her family.
"Quiet, just very quiet," she said. "We've had some steady, very loyal customers that have come in to see us and we're very happy for that."
Wisman said even with a budget, it's hard to tell what will happen to the businesses in the future.
"None of us have a crystal ball in order to be able to predict the future, but I think like everything that happens, this will pass eventually," she said. "The road to recovery might not be as fast as we would like it to be and I think it will be a little bit rocky, but I'm hopeful we'll all recover."
A few streets over, Bambino's Italian Café experienced a different reality due to quarantine. In April, it closed its doors for good according to a post on Facebook.
"Hi Columbia, we are sad to announce that as of 4/16/2020 Bambino's Italian Cafe will be permanently closed," the post said. "Special thanks to our family and to all of our loyal customers for the support. Please consider spending your money with the other local businesses struggling through this unpredictable time."
Their Facebook page is now no longer available.
Columbia Chamber of Commerce President, Matt McCormick, said he has released a survey for businesses to take in order to assess how they're doing since quarantine ended.
"We are looking for feedback from businesses about what they've been experiencing, what are they working on, and what are some top priorities that the Chamber needs to be focusing in on," he said.
McCormick said the Chamber is keeping the survey open for the rest of the week, and will release the information to the public next week. He said this will make it easier to assess what businesses are struggling most and need the community's help.