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The shops and businesses of the center are waiting for the return of their customers

NEW YORK (AP) – In many downtown areas where companies have closed offices, shut down, sandwich shops, bakeries, other small businesses are optimistic about returning customers.

Theresa Ging could count on a steady stream of office workers coming before COVID-19 for Sugar Bliss Bakery Muffins և cupcakes. They all disappeared when Lup, in central Chicago, was locked up against government orders.

In March, a local business group, the Chicago Loop Alliance, found that a year later, the number of people coming to work in downtown cities was still below 20% of the norm. But Ging is optimistic. Some of his regular clients return to their office one or two days a week.

“I certainly think the ring will return to normal at some point,” he said, although he did not expect it to happen until 2022.

The next few months will be turbulent for businesses across the country. With more city vaccinations աբ more vaccinations expected, office workers are expected to return, especially large companies such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, informing workers that they must return to work. But many businesses are expected to give their employees the flexibility to work from home. And some companies closed their offices forever and left completely.

It will surprise small business owners with varying degrees of optimism. When people started working from home, early in the morning at lunch, the crowd turned into trifles. Many restaurants and shops closed, those that survived relied on government assistance, concessions from landlords, and, if possible, sold online to increase their revenue.

The bakery in downtown Philadelphia, owned by Edna Cruz և Michael Caro, has only a fraction of its regular customers. Before the epidemic, office workers accounted for about 70% of their business. Now Cruz worries that Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar customers may never return.

The couple continued to work, thanks to a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, the landlord’s mildness, roasted coffee, and the sale of regular cakes. But they still see a lot of juggling ahead.

“If the rent stays the same, the foot traffic decreases, it will be very, very difficult for us,” Cruz said.

But Cruz is likely to see more people on the streets. Philadelphia officials announced last week that all restrictions on office capacity would be lifted starting this Friday.

Downtown Atlanta is full of office towers, սովորաբար businesses usually expect support from visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, City Convention Center, and tourist attractions. Nowadays, there is only a part of that march, the city authorities still have to say when Atlanta will be completely reopened.

Kwan’s Deli lost about 80% of its business, reduced its hours, and fired two full-time employees, as well as several part-time employees. But co-owner Andrew Song is optimistic. Even if the number of office workers does not return to pre-epidemic levels, delinquents will be able to survive as hotel guests, conference attendees and tourists return.

“When we normalize our personal lives, we kind of realize that the rest of the country, too,” he said. “There is definitely hope.”

Claudio Furgiuel, who owns a nearby Reuben’s Deli sandwich shop, is less optimistic. His business has recovered from the worst days of the epidemic, but he does not expect employees to return to the center’s offices as before. And he needs their business.

“If you expect the fall to be normal, chances are you are not going to be here in the winter,” he said. “Because it is not an ordinary business.”

Salons, dry cleaners այլ Other service companies are also waiting to see how many customers return. The Beret Loncar Massage Therapy Office in downtown serves half of its regular clients, and many travel from other parts of the city or suburbs because they are not in the office. His company, Body Mechanics, is actually more active on the weekends than on the weekends.

“They usually came for lunch or after work, but that’s not the case anymore,” says Loncar. “I think they come to get us out of the house.”

Many of Loncar’s clients are mothers who cannot return to work unless they have child care facilities. He advertises short-term for new customers, but is optimistic that his business will return to normal.

“I think we will be fine. “I hope so,” he said. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city will reopen by July 1, but many New Yorkers are expected to continue working from home.

Michael Edwards, who heads the Chicago Loop Alliance business group, is also optimistic. At its worst, pedestrian traffic in central Chicago was 25 percent of the norm, involving only locals and key workers. Now that number is up to 60%.

“It was shaking up,” Edwards said. He hopes that the occupancy of office buildings will reach 50% in the summer, instead of the current 20%. While Illinois plans to reopen on June 11, Chicago officials have not said when they will return to their model.

Although many people prefer to work from home, Edwards thinks they will want to return when they realize that their partners are communicating without them.

“There is a fear of losing. “If enough people return, then they lose their cocktails after work,” he said.

In downtown Dallas, Keith Flulen sees gradual signs of office life.

“It seems like a few people are coming back slowly,” said Flulen, who owns a cupcake shop named after him. Customer traffic to his store has been reduced by about 35%, although there are no restrictions for offices.

Flulen knows that full recovery is far away. “We are in a corner of the AT&T headquarters, We were in business every day, all day, with their teammates in various meetings and group tours. And we do not see it yet. “

Flulen closed two other stores during the epidemic, but if the business is good enough, he may consider opening another.

“You don’t want to make a plan until you have half a year of good sales until everything is normal,” he says.


The report was co-authored by Ph.D. Philadelphia-based writers Merrickler Dale, Chicago-based Kathleen Food and Atlanta-based Sudin Tanavala.


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