Shop Center City returns, helping boost business locally amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Businesses in Center City Philadelphia have suffered mightily during the pandemic.

Saturday, an initiative got underway to help struggling business owners recoup some of their losses.

Many Center City retailers and restaurants are participating in Shop Center City, aimed to help local businesses struggling during the pandemic.

"We're trying to help each other survive," said Ellen Shepp, the co-owner of Joan Shepp. We were closed for a long time, and then we spent some time recovering from the riots, rebuilding, and getting pretty again."

Shepp says he's just thrilled to be open, back in business again.

Shop Center City is helping boost some of that business with many stores offering special discounts to draw customers.

"Everything in the store is 15 percent off of retail," said Christine Street, the store manager of Paddywax Candle Bar.

More items purchased off the shelves could mean more jobs restored at shops, like Paddywax.

"We're very hopeful, there has definitely been a little bit of an increase in foot traffic for us," said Street.

Gyms like Orangetheory Fitness in Center City are also participating.

"We took a hit, obviously during the pandemic our gym was closed, so it's definitely good to have people kind of coming in and checking out the studio," said Dana Manning, the studio manager of Orangetheory Fitness In Center City.

Many shoppers say since times are financially tough, they want to make sure their dollars are circulating locally.

"If I'm going to spend a little bit of money that I have saved up, I want it to count," said Anna Biegalski, from Kensington. "I want it to feel really special."
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