LOS ANGELES — It is the season when many hope Santa will give out all types of goodies and presents, but for James Clark, his wishes are for renewed business after a year of COVID-19 economic pain.
What You Need To Know
- Retail sales fell 1.1% in November in the U.S., the biggest drop in seven months
- Gift shop, Dustmuffin in Silver Lake, has been feeling the impact of the pandemic too
- They had to close the shop for three months
- The owners hope holiday season sales can boost business and save the store
Clark and his wife, Kelly, run a specialty gift shop called Dustmuffin, where 25% of its items are environmentally friendly. Most of their items are made in Los Angeles.
Like most retail stores the pandemic has hit them hard, closing down at one point for three months.
“A lot of people are not going shopping, and rightly, they are worried about the effects of COVID and what it will do to their health,” Clark said. “We really had to rethink our business plans and we decided to put a lot more effort into our online sales.”
Inside their shop, they sell handmade crafts, CBD products, furniture, toys for children, and handcrafted art. They hope those items attract people to visit and buy last minute holiday gifts, and give a badly needed boost to business.
“There are less people than the last few years coming through our doors for sure,” Clark explained. “Having said that, we are pleased, I have to say. All of the neighbors and our loyal customers keep coming back to us.”
The customers who shop on Sunset Boulevard are rooting for them. It is why they choose Dustmuffin instead of a big chain.
“I work at a small place. I work at a small chain called Dayglow. And you know, my livelihood is supported by patrons coming in and helping us,” said John Armstrong, a customer at Dustmuffin. “So, if I have spare money to spend right now, I’d rather spend it in the communities with some neighbors that are supporting local people as well.”
Clark is praying for a Christmas miracle that will help keep his family’s store open because it is so much more than a job.