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Local Shops Go Online In Midst Of Pandemic

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Melissa Sevigny
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Local businesses have seen their sales drop as their customers follow instructions to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some are switching to online sales.

Bright Side Bookshop in downtown Flagstaff has been closed for a month in response to the pandemic. Owner Lisa Lamberson says they’ve launched an online bookstore instead. It was something she always planned to do, but wasn’t an urgent need until now. "Every day is a little bit different," she says. "Some are pretty rugged, and other days I am buoyed by the community support. It's hard, and it's OK, because I have to believe that people are showing up because they love us and we’re going to make it through this."

A knitting shop in Flagstaff, Purl in the Pines, is also taking orders by phone and online, and offers free delivery to anyone in northern Arizona. Owner Michele Roberts says she’s seen a sharp drop in sales. "I have some amazing local vendors and I haven’t been able to order, and it really breaks my heart, because I adore them, they’re hard working hand dyers, and I need the yarn, but I’m not going to buy it right now because I don’t know what’s happening." Roberts says she plans to apply for a loan to keep the shop afloat.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering “disaster loans” to companies affected by the pandemic.

For KNAU, I’m Melissa Sevigny.

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Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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