Small businesses across the Hudson Valley were forced to shut their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic and for many of them, being able to open back up did not look like a possibility. But now, Emporium Square is offering these businesses a new place to call home.
“We knew that businesses were starting to close throughout Hudson Valley. This is our way of creating an environment where we can prevent the crippling overhead costs, closing these businesses and providing them a home where they can continue the dream of their business,” said Emporium Square partner Barbara Martinez.
Having to cover rent and utilities while dealing with the state-mandated lockdown made it very difficult to maintain a brick and mortar location for a lot of businesses.
“The average price for, let's say the smallest retail space you can find in Middletown that I've looked, is maybe $1,000 a month. So it's a big difference and that doesn't include the utilities, which can run you another sometimes thousand dollars between heat and electric, so it gets expensive,” said Lissette Izaguirre from Elements Square Arts and Music.
Owners say it was important for them to open now and not wait for the pandemic to end.
“We're doing it safely, we're taking all the proper guidelines. Masks are required, social distancing signs, filters, you name it, hand sanitizing. We're taking all the precautions that are necessary but also making it possible for these small businesses that are closing their doors to not have to do that,” says Martinez.
The new marketplace will offer everything from clothing, to glasses, and even hair and beauty services. But the number one goal of the new facility is to give small businesses an opportunity to open and grow.
“It puts back a sense of pride in us, that we can keep going for dreams and keep trying to just try to find financial independence,” said Izaguirre.
Emporium Square is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.