Retail sales up nationwide last month, Miami Valley businesses still hurting

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The U.S. Department of Commerce reports retail businesses experienced a more than 5% boost in January, and they’re crediting some of it to the last round of stimulus checks.

Local businesses say they’re seeing more customers, but are still trying to get by after last spring’s shutdown.

Manager of Luna Botanicals and Gifts in Dayton Savannah Winfield said the weather is to blame for the recent slow down, but business his better than where it was months ago.

“We’ve been a little bit slower, but for the most part, business has been good,” Winfield said. “People are compliant to wearing masks, and they want to come out and take care of us.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce says retail businesses saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 5.3% in January, the biggest increase since June, which could partly be due to the $600 dollar stimulus checks.

Cedarville University Professor of Economics Jeff Haymond said stimulus checks are just a short-term boost, instead there should be a focus on increasing supply.

“As we bring the economy back online, that creates its own demand,” Haymond said. “We don’t need to stimulate people to consume. People when they earn a paycheck are quite happy to go out and spend it.”

“It feels good to start to see glimpses of normalcy,” Winfield said.

Entrepreneur’s Marketplace Owner Tae Winston said business has been struggling because of capacity limitations for social distancing.

“It’s definitely different now that we can only have six people inside the marketplace and 10 inside the of the shops,” Winston said. “The community does still support, but it definitely put a damper on it.”

Haymond said as remaining COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, schools reopen and the vaccine is more available, the economy will bounce back.

“As the economy is allowed to reopen, you’ll see these numbers go back in a strong way,” Haymond said.

Both local business owners continue to ask for the community’s support, and they’re hopeful business will boom by summer.

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