Small businesses getting very creative to stay open while serving one another

Small businesses getting very creative to stay open while serving one another

NEWTONVILLE, Mass. — Many people spend 9/11 as a day of service but this year, because of the pandemic, there are so many needs, one of which is keeping small businesses alive.

“My whole calendar was wiped out for the whole year and I’m not sure when and if they will come back anytime soon,” said Michael Blanchard, who will probably have to close his event photography store and work from home.

However, he realizes the tailor next door doesn’t have that option.

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“I try to pay as little as I can,” said Newtonville Tailor owner Katya Alvarez. “But I need the help.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Katya Alvarez to close for two months, Blanchard used his photography skills to make an online video. With a little traction, someone donated three months of rent just to keep her going.

“I was in shock,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. This was like the first time in my life something like this happened.”

Still, three months later, there’s still little business, and that money, “it’s almost done,” she said.

So now time for Plan B: Partnering with an online tie-dye business.

“She reached out saying maybe she could tailor some things for her and I said actually why don’t you take over her window and do a pop-up and you guys can go in business together,” said Blanchard.

“We decided to renovate and do this to bring the tie-dye to the window to bring it to the area to bring excitement,” said Lindsay Merowitz of TyedWithLove.

They hope the new renovations and combined ideas can be an inspiration for every other small business on the brink of giving up.

“Mom and pop shops are really struggling,” said Blanchard. “If you just go in and ask, ‘How are you doing? How is business?’ Chances are, it’s not great and we need to consciously support them especially the ones that’ve been around forever. She’s been here for 18 years. We just need to help them. They are worth saving.”

The tailor is still taking business and the tie-dye shop will begin taking customers next week. They’re hoping for enough business to at least keep the shop open through the winter.

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