Businesses affected by coronavirus fears

NOW: Businesses affected by coronavirus fears

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With more and more businesses closing, those that are open are struggling to stay open.

Ali on the Boulevard is just one business that is being affected by the coronavirus, but their choice to stay open is only making them fight harder for their customers.

“We have definitely seen a drop in sales from this,” Ali Patel, the owner of Ali on the Boulevard said. “We’re definitely seeing a lot less foot traffic. My office is here above the store and I have a window that sees out onto the street and it looks like a ghost town. It’s sad.”

With fewer and fewer customers going inside the store, the owner tells me they’re starting to get creative.

They are trying to do a lot of online sales, using social media to promote it.

“We’re trying to do a lot of online stuff, using our social media platforms a lot,” Patel said. “Our store phone number is actually a cell-phone line so we’ve been doing a lot more business via text, doing facetime with customers, people are sending screenshots of things they see on our social media so that’s been different but it’s great!”

They also partner with Viewtique, a company that links several boutiques in the area on their website and is offering free local delivery to try on anything that you find on that website.

Ali on the Boulevard is just one example of a business trying new things to stay afloat.

“We’re trying really hard to be creative and innovative. We have to be. None of us can really afford to shut the door and walk away otherwise we wouldn’t be in business in the first place,” she said.

Their annual fashion show with Papa Vinos is also changing. They are looking into trying to still have the show but do it solely on social media either Instagram or Facebook Live and take some Papa Vinos home to watch the show.

As for the store, again you can reach them both online and by text. Or if you go into the store, they are sanitizing everything.

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