Formal wear companies suffer after a year at home

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Hastings took over when her husband passed away seven years ago. It was his father who opened the leather horse harness store. Hastings said his daughter will take over if the store can survive.

Fewer people wore shoes last year, so fewer shoes needed fixing.

“No one was really shopping. Everyone was at home doing what they were told to do,” Hastings said.

In addition to the pandemic, Hastings said trends are changing overall and they are not good for his business.

“It all got causal and more casual as the week went on, and no one dressed like you’ve seen over the years,” Hastings said.

Hastings and her daughter have talked about turning the store into a restaurant or cellar if the shoe business were to go bankrupt.

“I hope it’s going to stay stable. You just don’t know. It’s a daily type thing,” Hastings said.

In the same building, Amber VanReese owns Sew Chic Alterations & Tuxedos. VanReese ran into the same issues last year without a wedding or prom.

“There were weeks when there was nothing because the weddings weren’t taking place,” VanReese said.

She said it was her regulars who helped keep her afloat.

“They’ll just bring in small projects, and I was able to catch up and make it look like a normal business day even if it wasn’t,” VanReese said.

For Hastings, she said, her regulars’ business was also what pulled her through. But that wasn’t the only thing.

“I try to keep a good attitude. You can’t think about it and let yourself be down. Every morning you have to get up and think ‘it’s gonna be a good day,’” Hastings said.

Both business owners said things were improving over the past few weeks. VanReese said she expects to be busy with weddings until the fall.

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