For Cape Cod businesses, recovery from the summer of COVID-19 starts with tax-free weekend

OSTERVILLE, Mass. — Tax-free weekend starts on Saturday in Massachusetts and, on Cape Cod, there’s a strong push to shop local.

As the Summer season comes to an end, many business owners are now calculating their losses, and in some cases the hit is significant.

“I think that the seasonal industry needs every penny that they can get,” said Linda Stella, Owner of Foraged Floral of Cape Cod in Osterville.

Stella and her daughter, Stephanie Romanowicz, told Boston 25 News on Friday they were wrapping up a very tough summer financially.

“Our sales are really far down,” explained Romanowicz.

According to Love Live Local, a non-profit that supports local businesses on Cape Cod, many retail stores have seen a decrease in sales anywhere from 20 percent-70 percent.

“That’s scary,” said Amanda Converse, Co-Founder and CEO of Love Live Local. “That’s scary in our busy season to hear those numbers, and we are worried that when we emerge from the busy season, businesses will look around and say oh no, what do I do now.”

Converse helped start a Cape Cod Resilience Fund in the Spring, shortly after the pandemic began.

The fund gave away nearly $50,000 in grant money to roughly 50 small businesses that needed the help.

Foraged Floral of Cape Cod received $500 in July.

“We just found that it was a surprise to get the grant, so we wanted to pay it forward,” said Stella. “We just reinvested it into our friends and our neighbors and our vendors that are here and local.”

Due to their success, Love Live Local is planning to offer a second round of relief, working to raise $50,000 by Labor Day Weekend to then disperse to a new round of grant recipients.

“We knew that there was already a need, and there was a large need, and we knew there was going to be a continued need,” said Converse.

The push to support local businesses comes days after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a new advertising campaign, pushing for people to shop local on the Tax-Free Weekend.

“T here’s just been such a flux of stores closing and businesses not being able to make it because sales are really down. I mean, it’s a struggle,” said Romanowicz. “Just remember that the closer you can keep your purse to your community, the better your community will be.”

For more information on the Cape Cod Resilience Fund or to make a donation, click here.

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