Local businesses are bouncing back a year after the pandemic started

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - When the pandemic started, even the most popular shops and cafes in Downtown Chipley felt the effects.

“Business slowed down a lot,” barber with Styling Station Salon Leanna Easterling said.

“We definitely lost a lot of our regular customers,” Box Car Coffee manager Nathan Spencer said.

Roughly a year later, things are looking up.

“Our businesses are open. They’re doing fairly well and vibrant,” Chipley Mayor Tracy Andrews said.

Even after the pandemic slowed down profits and caused some companies to make cutbacks, Mayor Andrews said not a single one went out of business.

To help businesses stay afloat, the Chipley Redevelopment Agency awarded more than $120,000 dollars to local small businesses and non-profits.

“The grant was $2,000 per business, and I think we had approximately 63 businesses that took advantage of that grant,” Mayor Andrews said.

And some local spots like Box Car Coffee got creative in finding ways to bring in new customers.

“We’re staying open later than we were before the pandemic and we’re actually seeing a lot of after-school business. A lot of people learning where we’re at and starting to come in now,” Spencer said.

But even though business picked up, it hasn’t been a full recovery.

“Now we’re fully open but we still don’t have a lot of our regular customers coming in,” Spencer said.

But Spencer said he’s glad to have the coffee shop open and moving in the right direction.

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