44 percent of Boston small businesses shuttered during pandemic

BOSTON — A staggering number of small businesses across the city of Boston and state of Massachusetts have shuttered their doors during the pandemic with fears that the closures will continue.

According to data compiled by Harvard researchers, the number of small businesses open in Boston has decreased by 44 percent since the start of the year.

Across the state of Massachusetts, the number of small businesses that remain open has reduced by 37 percent since the start of the year.

Researchers at Opportunity Insights found that certain businesses are being hit the hardest, including restaurants, hospitality and retail.

“It’s tough when you’re emotionally attached to something, but the business side of you is definitely what you have to let take over,” said Kristen Lambert, owner of Third Piece knitwear studio on Tremont Street in the South End.

Kristen Lambert is planning to walk away from the brick and mortar store she’s put her heart and soul into sometime after the holidays.

She plans to fully transition her South End business to online sales in 2021.

“Our revenues for the retail store have been down 50 percent if not more,” explained Lambert. “This space is the biggest thing I ever did since starting the business. I renovated it. I gutted it. I made it this beautiful space, and it’s going to be sad to see it go.”

Third Piece, which specializes in making hand knit collections, has been impacted by a significant reduction in foot traffic.

Other stores are experiencing identical struggles with less people coming into the city for work and leisure.

“There is a great deal of concern that this could get worse,” said Christopher Carlozzi, Massachusetts State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Christopher Carlozzi predicts more store fronts, especially in Boston, will continue to go dark through early 2021.

“That person who may have been coming into the city grabbing a sandwich or lunch or meeting their coworkers, those experiences aren’t really happening right now,” explained Carlozzi.

Carlozzi told Boston 25 News that small business owners are also worried about a laundry list of new costs coming down the pike in 2021. He said that includes higher unemployment insurance taxes by almost 60 percent and potential higher health care costs.

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