Ohio business review

Consumer Behavior Has Changed — Local Businesses Still Struggling After Pandemic

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — The owners of Blum’s Party Goods in South Euclid tell News 5 that they take great delight in assisting individuals in celebrating that unique day or time in their lives.

“Our favorite thing to do is to assist folks figure out what they want,” said Abby Aloni, co-owner of Blum’s Party Goods.

Although Blum’s has been around for 15 years, they claim that COVID-19 harmed their business and that they have struggled to recover ever since.

“There were many caterers participating before the pandemic. Many people were throwing parties,” Aloni stated.

According also to Abby and her co-owner Shimi Aloni, everything halted after the pandemic struck. 

“Nobody could have any meetings with multiple people,” Shimi said. “So they stopped ordering the big orders of the commercial, which is a big chunk of the business that died overnight.”

The couple claims their company is still having trouble assisting customers in building those priceless memories even three and a half years later. The way people shop has changed. Simply said, consumer behavior has changed, according to the owners.

Abby claimed it damages businesses like Blum’s, whose owners prefer that customers visit their store in person because they believe it contributes to the distinctiveness of the shopping experience there.

“We want to interact with people, and I think that that’s a lot of what our country was built on,” she said.

Sadly, though, the couple sees this fading for their local shop and other small companies.

“We really don’t want to make our business people clicking a button and us sticking something in a box,” Abby added.

Case Western Reserve University experts claim they are not surprised to learn that small businesses like Blum’s Party Goods are struggling.

According to Michael Goldberg, associate professor of design and innovation at the Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University: “For small businesses that have been there in our community and that can be a convenient place to go get goods, some of them just haven’t seen the bounce back.”

Local business owners are being impacted, Goldberg said, by variables including inflation, supply chain problems, rising borrowing rates, and general changes in consumer behavior.

He also mentioned that vacant storefronts result from consumers not supporting small businesses, which causes them to close.

The Alonis want their message to emphasize the importance of everyone supporting local businesses in their neighborhood.

“You need to support local businesses if you want to live in a place where there is individuality, new things, and a wide variety to choose from,” said Abby Aloni.

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