Some retailers seeing business boom, while others struggle amid coronavirus outbreak

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the way businesses run, but Action News found many spots making creative changes to try and stay open.

The pandemic is having a devastating impact on most business in and around Center City, but some retailers are actually experiencing an uptick in customers, like Rittenhouse Hardware.

"We are pumping out customers," said Ian Pytko.



Pytko said first it was things like cleaning supplies flying off shelves. But things have changed as the outbreak has progressed.

"It's picked up because people are at home doing a lot of home projects and still trying to live a normal life," he said.

Pytoko said he is hoping the business boom keeps them open and employed.

Corner stores and places like Wawa are also seeing an influx of customers.
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And while many business now have to close, the owner of Tselaine in Rittenhouse Square said she plans on using this time wisely.

"Pretty much what I'm doing is taking pictures for our website and trying to get things online so people can shop from home," said Bridget Curtin.

Tselaine gift store planned to close its brick and mortar operations on Monday night even before the city ordered the closure of non-essential businesses.

Curtrin said Tselaine is not only shipping all over the country but delivering locally in person.

"It might be my face you see when you're getting your stuff so we're really trying to pump it up right now," she said.

But the beauty business is taking a big hit from the coronavirus.

Appointments at Anthony Guerrera's Skincare Lounge & Spa dropped by as much as 80% this past weekend.

"As an owner I am good. I can withstand this. I worry about my employees and how they're going to deal with this," said Guerrera.

And now with the forced closure of non-essential businesses, the owners and manager of Jason Matthew Salon are worried, too.

"This is a commission-based business, so basically if you don't work, you don't get paid but we all want to do the right thing and stay safe," said Renee Iannace.

The city of Philadelphia says it will launch a program to support businesses, helping them maintain payroll obligations and preserve jobs, but details are not yet known.

And there are things you can do to help.

"If they can just hang in there, buy gift cards so we know we still have some loyal customers that are just going to hang in there with us until this ends," said Iannace.

Also, shop local both online and off.

And when you can, tip more than usual or set aside extra tip money for when you can return to your local merchant.

Moving forward, these folks are going to need as much help as we can give.
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