KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Consumers shopped their way through Black Friday spending billions online and at national department stores. Now, the focus shifts to small businesses. 

Because of COVID fears and mandates, many retail mom and pop shops barely made it through last Christmas. With protocols beginning to relax, small business owners are hoping this is the start of a retail rebound. 

Owners have a collective holiday wish this year…a Christmas Comeback. 

Emily Bordner opened her second location of E.B. & Co. on the Country Club Plaza in September. Now, Bordner is ready to welcome customers to brick and mortars in Brookside and on the Plaza. Her shop features sparkling accessories and holiday sales.  

“This is the time to show up and really support your local favorite small businesses,” Bordner said. 

Local businesses typically give more money and donations to local charities, and from shopping advice to gift wrapping, they will almost always go the extra mile to please customers. 

Elle Steadman opened Pink Dinosaur at Zona Rosa in 2020 and this year opened a second store on the Plaza. Her Kansas City T-Shirts and sweatshirts are made by seamstresses in Haiti though the Global Orphan Project and printed locally. She is consumed with ideas to grow her business and please local customers in order to help more children in Haiti.

“Owning a small business is 24/7. I’m constantly thinking about what my customers need y and what I can do. How I can help the community,” Steadman said. 

While COVID closed down thousands of small businesses last year, this  holiday shopping season is “make it or break it” for those who survived. 

Chrysy Huff is the long-time owner of RE: on the Plaza and in the Crossroads.

“The next few months are really crucial for us. We’re making some big decisions about our future based on what happens in the next 60 days,” Huff said. 

Like most other businesses, RE: has dealt with heartbreaking employee layoffs, shipping obstacles, product shortages and finally hiring shortages during the financial spin cycle since shelter in place orders went into effect during the Spring of 2020.  

“I remember the moment I didn’t know if we were going to make it,” Huff said.    

But the ship seems to be turning. Huff says Black Friday sales at the Plaza store broke company records.

“We had our best day in the history of being here yesterday. That is a good sign. That’s a really good sign,” Huff said.

The final weeks of 2021 leading up to Christmas are more important than ever for small businesses across the metro. 

“I’m going to be honest,” Huff said. “We need you to be down here and be a part of the lights and Christmas on the Plaza.” 

Bordner enthusiastically agrees as she pushes a sign tied with balloons out in front of EB & Co.

“We are ready. We are so excited to have you,” Bordner said.    

Around the corner at Pink Dinosaur, Steadman is celebrating every sale, and thanking every customer that spends part of their Christmas budget locally.

“You are so appreciated is what customers need to know. Every single person matters,” Steadman said.