City of Hamilton providing new opportunities for small businesses during tough year

HAMILTON, Ohio — The city of Hamilton is thinking outside the box to provide new opportunities for local small businesses to do more than get by in the midst of a holiday season heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

For months, businesses have pushed a “shop local” mentality, and some business owners said it’s working.

Sherry Hoskins, owner of Hamilton’s Petals and Wicks, said the worst part was the uncertainty.

“I think it’s a little above what we expected,” Hoskins said. “We didn’t know what to expect. We had no clue. Every single day is different. Every month is different. Every holiday is different now. The way people buy is different. Everything is different.”

She transitioned to e-commerce and curbside pickup in an attempt to grow her business model into something that could survive during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Two stores down from Hoskins, Pet Wants Hamilton store owner Rachel Steinman admits it’s been a tough year.

“We’d see business go up and down, up and down,” she said.

Steinman said 2020 brought its own challenges for their store.

“The neat thing about Hamilton is when there’s some type of adverse challenge out there, they stand up and say, ‘not today, not in our neighborhood, it’s not happening,’” she said. “They’ve really seen us through this time.”

Steinman said the city and the chamber of commerce have been proactive with downtown programming to get consumers traffic close to their stores.

“I have such an incredible feeling of gratitude for our community for coming out and being with us,” Steinman said. “Loving on us. Making us be successful.”

Hamilton’s business owners know every sale counts – and each one is one step closer to getting them by and into the new year.

“We’re grateful for all their support throughout this entire year,” Steinman said. “We are.”