SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Hundreds of shoppers were in downtown Savannah Friday afternoon looking for Black Friday deals. But it’s no secret the coronavirus pandemic is slowing down foot traffic on the Hostess city’s iconic Broughton Street.
The longtime owner of 24e says traffic was steady, but it’s been busier in previous years.
“I don’t think that’s been a big mystery,” said Rule Joyner. “You go and watch television last night and today, there hasn’t been all the hype.”
The executive director of the Savannah Downtown Business Association says even local businesses have been hyping their online sales instead. Owners are improving their websites, social media channels, and shipping capabilities.
“A lot of business owners have been very creative with coming up with ways to support them, if you’re not comfortable going downtown and visiting their shops and restaurants,” said Jackie Schott. “But truthfully, these owners have perfected their cleanliness over the last 8 months.”
Most owners require masks inside their stores. Some locals agree Savannah is faring better than other cities. If sales don’t bring visitors in, they argue our Southern charm will.
“This isn’t just a mini-mall,” said Royner. “It’s not a strip market. It’s the real deal, it’s a thriving community with a lot of texture. You can’t fake that.”
“These downtown business owners, they have put a lot of time and effort into their businesses throughout the pandemic and it’s time we look at supporting them this holiday season,” said Schott.
Schott says that is especially important this weekend on Small Business Saturday.
The City of Savannah is offering free parking on Saturday to support the holiday. It is available from noon to 8 p.m.. Free parking will also be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout December.