Business / Economy

Small businesses brace for rough holiday season

Blueprint clothing store (15 years at the location)
Ronald Elike, owner
1038 Southern
PHOTOGRAPHER: Mohammad Sharif Hassan

Ronald Elike is the owner of the Blueprint, a clothing store, on Southern Blvd. He launched the business in 2002 when few online businesses were selling cloths. His business grew for about a decade, but started trending down about five years ago. 

 “The chain stores have an effect on us, but online is even worse – that’s taken a big chunk of our business away – because a lot of customers are now shopping online,” 41-year-old business owner said. 

Elike tried to embrace the online business in the hope to compensate the store decline. He created a website and started selling on Ebay. The website didn’t help. The Ebay sales, however, increased over time. 

Elike said his business is “tremendously down,” this holiday season. In addition to online and chain store growth, he has another problem – unfriendly weather. With the weather warmer this December, fewer people buy winter clothes. 

“This year in particular we had a lot of issues with weather. It’s been warm. Normally it supposed to be cold [in December]. So, we are selling winter cloths, but people don’t need it right now,” he said.

Though business owners often depend on the holiday season to boost flagging revenues, many in Longwood’s main shopping district along Southern Boulevard say they’re not optimistic as big box stores and online sales have eaten away at their ability to earn a living in recent years.