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COVID: Small Business Saturday Turns 10 in Make-or-Break Pandemic Year

BERKELEY (KPIX) -- Emily Goldenberg owns GoldenBug a children's clothing store on Berkeley's Fourth Street that opened a year ago. Goldenberg has had to lay off all seven employees at this shop and another she owns because of the pandemic.

"We were closed for however many months, six months. It was rough," she said.

She's only recently hired back three workers.

Shopping in Berkeley
Shoppers at GoldenBug, a children's clothing store on Berkeley's Fourth Street. (CBS)

"We have our online presence which has boosted us during the pandemic and kept us alive, frankly," Goldenberg said.

For Goldenberg and many independent businesses Small Business Saturday opens a critical holiday shopping season.

Nationwide, 100,000 businesses have already shut down during the pandemic.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, one in five says it will have to close if things don't get better in several months.

Some are banding together.

More than 50, Black-women-owned businesses have been holding a two-day live, online shopping event organized by Just Be, a social enterprise in Oakland.

Co-founder Hope Lehman said, "This is a high stakes holiday here for small business owners."

She added, "Specifically for Black businesses, nearly half are shutting down currently in the country so it's crucial folks go the extra mile to shop small."

The event, called "For the Culture Market," hopes to make more than $100,000 in weekend sales for Black women entrepreneurs, like Alicia Kidd of The Wine Noire.

Kidd imports, exports and distributes for winemakers of color and recently got highlighted in Wine Spectator magazine.

"My business was a lot of corporate -- B-to-B festivals -- and that took a 50 percent dive and now I'm pivoting 100 percent online," Kidd said.

Locals want to help.

An American Express survey says that when people are aware of the impact of buying local, three-quarters say they are more likely to do so.

"It helps the community. I also want to support businesses I like and I want them to stay," said shopper Anna Munkres of Kensington.

The survey also says that, for every dollar spent on American small business, 67 cents stays in the local economy.

There are also grants to help local entrepreneurs and independent Black-owned businesses.

Alameda County announced it's taking applications for up to $5,000 in CARES Act grants for small businesses.

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