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Health of small businesses one of the hardest hit during pandemic

I first moved to Crafton in March of 2020 and had already found my way around town and to the busway for my morning commute downtown.

I am sure everyone has heard of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on your health, but are many people aware of the long-term effects on local businesses? This year everything from lack of staff and reduced customers, to having to resort to food delivery services with a steep cost associated with using them just to try to stay afloat, has caused long term damage to our local business districts.

Many of my favorite restaurants have had to reduce business hours to accommodate these new changes to their business plans. I have seen some even close their doors randomly during the week due to lack of staff. Others are powering through and trying new approaches and expanded offerings.

I first moved to Crafton in March of 2020 and had already found my way around town and to the busway for my morning commute downtown. Every morning I’d pass the local businesses on E. Crafton Avenue on my way to and from work. I remember seeing D&O Wine Cellars just at the bottom of my hill and thinking, I should stop in there one night. Little did I know, the world was about to change and I shouldn’t have waited.

Shortly after my last time passing D&O and seeing a crowd of people smiling and tasting wines as I passed from the sidewalk just outside, COVID-19 would hit the states and hit us hard. The following week, mandatory stay-at-home orders were put into place and many businesses had to close their doors, and were left hoping things would be business as usual within a few short weeks. As we all know, that was not the case.

As time went by, some small businesses were allowed to partially resume somewhat normally, but for others, they sat wondering how they were going to make it out of this without losing all of the hard work they had invested.

Fast forward to today, and I still see many businesses struggling to make it. D&O is one of those businesses (even with their expansion to a second storefront that launched in Coraopolis last month). Once busy and full of life, I see the Crafton location is now often empty of patrons. Nothing has changed in their business model, nothing about their wine is different, so why suddenly is there less business when it was once so vibrant?

It surely isn’t a change in trends as people still like their wine, and it isn’t that they were doing anything differently besides a change in hours to accommodate the lack of business. They still hold events and try to have live music, but the people just are not coming in like they once did.

It truly saddens me to see that there are so many places still struggling right now to stay afloat. A lot of these places are local gems that will be greatly missed if forced to close their doors. So, if you can and have the means to, try to support your local gems as much as possible during these trying times. While they might not like to admit it, I promise they could surely use your help.

I don’t have the answers or the solutions, but I try my best via social media and through this column to promote locally-owned places like D&O. I also try to stop in to show my support when and where I can. I know I’ll be attending D&O’s Halloween party which runs from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 at the Crafton location, 70 E. Crafton Ave. If you have nothing on your schedule that night, maybe you should, too.


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