Market shops in downtown Springfield closed, owners cite coronavirus pandemic
The news comes just two years after the stores – Serendipity, a store labeled “retail therapy” and Alchemy Nail Bar – were named Microenterprise of the Year by the US Small Business Administration.
Business partners Mikki Lessard and Nancy Feth opened five years ago, gradually expanding with yoga and adding the nail and pedicure salon, which opened in January 2019.
The shops face Market Street, a pedestrian alley.
“We have done so much to make this space of Alchemy what it is,” said Lessard. “Heartbreaking.”
All three businesses closed in March due to restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“It was our biggest dream to be able to weather this storm,” said Lessard. “But our fixed expenses remain the same.”
Lessard said that despite recognition from the Small Business Administration, she and Feth were unable to secure business assistance to help pay for expenses, except for one month’s rent from Springfield Business Improvement. District.
The companies were turned down in three rounds of the city’s Prime the Pump grants, and they were unable to get money from the federal government’s paycheck protection program because their yoga teachers and technicians in the city. nails were all independent contractors.
Lessard said she and Feth have tried to rebuild the business over the past few weeks in the same way they built it in the first place: by hosting events and making a trip to the stores a social experience.
But the crowds were small, and visitors noticed that they hadn’t had a chance to bring summer goods to Serendipity.
Sendipity sold women’s clothing, among other things.
The shops occupy the rear of the old Johnson’s Bookstore building at 1341 Main Street. Johnson has long been a staple in Springfield retail. Lessard and Feth wanted to bring back that feeling of busy and busy space.
Nosh restaurant and cafe Nosh located next door but in the same building does not close, said owner Teri Skinner.
“We are very sad that they are leaving,” Skinner said.
Nosh has often collaborated with his neighbors on events and promotions with the goal of building community and promoting Market Street islet as a destination.
“It’s good to have other business owners, especially women, next door,” Skinner said. “We could talk. We could collaborate.”
Nosh sees his activity pick up. But catering jobs are smaller – weddings meet the 25-person limit – but Nosh hosted a reception on Saturday for a couple who got married at town hall.
“We’re seeing more people downtown,” Skinner said. “It’s a help.”