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Reopening Coronavirus: small shops struggle with the process

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Reopening Coronavirus: small shops struggle with the process

For small business owners, steps towards opening their doors again after coronavirus locking are welcome – but far from easy.

Two small Los Angeles merchants who could name celebrity clients from the days before COVID-19 found that shoppers who walked were mostly shoppers. Although some areas in the state are loosening the limitation of coronavirus, in-store shopping in Los Angeles County is still largely limited to food and other important businesses.

Kitson on Robertson Boulevard is a unique clothing and gift seller who won’t die. Small Trends selling children’s clothes that are trendy in competition with giant chains that have a lobby bigger than the single store Sherman Oaks.

Now, the tourism dollar is gone. Online traffic is not strong enough to make up for lost in-store sales. Some employees are afraid to go back to work.

All leave Kitson, at best, 15% of the previous income stream. Little Trendz has only had a handful of customers in the past week.

“It’s like trying to start a business from scratch, when you don’t know what you will sell, or to whom,” said Fraser Ross, owner of Kitson, who reopened his shop to curbside services on May 8.

The owner of Little Trendz, Sara Petikyan, left, and the Arpine store manager, his sister, are masked and gloved at their Sherman Oaks store. They want to show passers-by that they take every precaution.

(Ronald D. White / Los Angeles Times)

Sara Petikyan, owner of Little Trendz, is happy to be back at her shop again but knows that the road ahead will be difficult.

“Nobody is interested in buying shirts for their children when they are worried about feeding their families or looking for work,” he said. “So I understand why we earn so little. This is a struggle. “

Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at USC Marshall School of Business, said business has never faced a mixture of negative and contradictory forces.

“This is a very different situation facing business, very real,” said Perner, whose specialization includes consumer behavior and how buyers react to price changes.

“People who still have jobs sometimes receive salary deductions or are very worried about how long they will get it. And there is still so much fear around the virus that there is a kind of social disapproval of the risk of going out to shop somewhere for things that you really don’t need, “he said.

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Kitson opened on designer-studded Robertson Boulevard in 2000, becoming a destination for paparazzi to take photos of young celebrities. The brand survived two recessions and expansions – some say overexposure – to 17 locations. At the end of 2015, new management began liquidating Kitson brick and mortar stores and e-commerce operations.

Ross had left Kitson before the unexpected closure, which brought many lawsuits by all parties. In 2016, Ross launched a comeback, opening another pop-culture flavor shop, dubbed Kitross, at Robertson’s original location. Eventually, the operation became Kitson again.

The Kitson business model utilizes impulsive purchases, with a range of eclectic items ranging from original artwork that can be sold for several thousand dollars and cashmere sweaters for $ 600 to greeting cards that sell for $ 5.95.

The pandemic has been a blow, Ross said, combining the dangers of viruses with shutdowns at home that shut down his physical store as an insignificant business, even when large chains such as Target and Walmart can continue to sell gifts and other goods along with needs that cannot be done by consumers .

“They shouldn’t be allowed to do that when we can’t,” Ross said. “We can practice social alignment in retail as well as other people.”

On a recent workday, Kitson and the nearby Kitson Kids store were the only company on the block that was open to roadside businesses, making Robertson Boulevard seem largely deserted, except for some light vehicle traffic that might have been rare before the virus. Kitson outlet stores and Beverly Hills pop-up stores have not reopened.

“This is not good, but every little bit helps in sales, from curbside to the internet,” said Ross, who added that he averaged nearly 30 curbside customers a day. “But I don’t know what the outcome will be at the end. Just like, this is a new world, and we have just adapted when we … walked together, and with what we can do and what we cannot do.”

Unsold inventory has become an additional problem, Ross said.

“We usually sell Mother’s Day cards every year, and I only pack 500 cards. Easter? “I pack those things,” said Ross, now wondering if he should do the same thing next month for Father’s Day.

“The swimming pool is floating, actually, I have done well, because people are stuck in their homes, so we will have some interesting items. But apart from that, I don’t know what will sell and what won’t, “said Ross. Puzzles for adults and items to keep kids busy are also popular.

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Some Kitson workers were very happy to be back. One of them was salesman Tom Ernst, who was pacing in front of the store, masked properly, making sure the merchandise set outside to attract customers was simply arranged. It doesn’t seem to matter that business is very slow.

“It’s great to be back at work,” Ernst said. “To be able to have a place to go, where you feel like someone needs you.”

Ross said some employees were skeptical about face-to-face work with customers. He said he had seven employees back at work, and three more would return June 1, now Kitson has received funding from the federal-sponsored Paycheck Protection Program.

“We have 23 employees among our four stores, with employees, managers,” Ross said. “So, we have two who work on the internet, one who works outside for customers, one person in stock and then tomorrow we will bring back Instagram people and more web people.”

Some families don’t want to see loved ones return to retail work so quickly, as does 17-year-old Julie Kartashyan, who usually works at Little Trendz children’s boutique.

“My mother did not want me to go back to work first,” Kartashyan said. “That’s because he read the article or heard news about how the virus might still exist in August.”

As April entered May, Kartashyan’s mother said she might consider letting him back around May 15, but that date had come and gone without approval.

“And that’s even though he knows my shop is small and kept very clean,” Kartashyan said. “My mother is not worried like she is if I will return to work in a large shop; he certainly wouldn’t consider it then. “

Bosses find themselves in a difficult position too. Petikyan, 33-year-old owner of Little Trendz, said he would hold Kartashyan’s work for him for as long as needed to get him back.

“That’s all we can do for now, which is to make sure he knows he still has a job,” said Petikyan, who usually employs five workers. He applied for an emergency PPP fund supported by the government but said he had never heard from the lender.

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“One thing I want to make sure of is that my employees feel comfortable before returning,” Petikyan said. “I want them to want to go back to work. We want our employees and customers to feel safe. We provide masks and gloves. We provide cleaners, and no one is allowed into the store without a mask. “

Petikyan opened Little Trendz at the end of 2016 in a 750 square foot space on Ventura Boulevard. The shop ran well from the start, he said, as the only retail company within a few blocks focused on trendy clothes, European and street styles for kids.

“We have older women who come looking for something for their grandchildren. Many people enter just because the window pulls them. We are just something different, “said Petikyan. “We have a mother with a train running nearby. They see the shop, enter, refer to their friends. So it’s good enough. “

Petikyan brought his sister Arpine, who was 34 years old, into the business to provide some of the skills he had acquired in retail management positions for several years, including at Michael Kors.

“That is something, the dream of the two of us who came together,” said Arpine Petikyan.

Little Stockz sells jackets that sell for around $ 100 and T-shirts with insolent speeches like “I’m so Prada” and “#swag” that cost $ 24.99 to $ 32.99. There is a new line of COVID clothing, including a shirt that states: “Please stay 6 feet away.”

By 2019, the larger chains have captured the popularity of urban street clothing for children and, in some cases, even offered the same brands at competitive prices, the sisters said. But that is nothing compared to being told in March that Little Trendz can only sell online – a disaster for stores that rely on pedestrian traffic for 80% of their business.

“In this environment, having many people buy goods for Easter and Easter makes March the second largest month for sales, after December,” Sara Petikyan said. “So we suddenly saw big numbers, big sales losses.”

E-commerce has made the shop run, and the sisters believe it if they can get only two customer walk-ups a day to add to their online sales, they will be able to eliminate the viral effect on the business. The store has a sign that encourages shoppers to call or send text messages if they see merchandise that interests them through the store’s big picture window or on their social media accounts.

“Pedestrian traffic outside has begun to increase,” but no one has approached them to make a purchase, he said. “This is very difficult.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets Ptix.bm For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS ‘There will be room’

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS 'There will be room'

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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