ROCHESTER, N.Y. — One by one, customers came piling into the Happy Earth Tea Company Saturday morning in Rochester.
The Happy Earth Tea Company usually operates out of a smaller space just down the road on South Avenue. But, to account for social distancing, the owners decided to move to a bigger location for a couple of weeks.
"We have [the] ability for our customers not to be in a crowded unsafe situation," said Miraj Lama, one of the co-owners of Happy Earth Tea Company.
These next couple of weeks are crucial for their business. That's why owners say Small Business Saturday is more vital this year.
"For small businesses like ours, November and December are the biggest sales months of the year and if we don't have a good month, we're in jeopardy," said Mary Boland, co-owner of Happy Earth Tea Company.
Charlotte Burch is the owner of Sensuous Satiables and president of the Thurston Brooks Merchants Association. She knows firsthand how valuable small businesses like hers are to the local community.
"We want to make sure that we are open in this community so that people can shop and still experience some livelihood in the neighborhood as opposed to going out to the mall," said Burch.
She believes that Small Business Saturday is a great way for businesses to get back on track financially.
"The loss of revenue from the pandemic, people are struggling, so we as business owners we want to be open," said Burch.
For shoppers, there is nothing like shopping at a small business, simply because they offer things that big retailers can't.
"We go to Wegmans for groceries and things like that because they bring in these supply chains that bring in tons of tons of things, but they can't have the individual characteristics of a wonderful store like this," said Nancy Rice, a shopper who came to the Happy Earth Tea Company Saturday.