Lexington businesses reflect on past year, challenges of the pandemic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A year of the pandemic in Kentucky and some businesses say they know some changes are here to stay, but hope that eventually things mostly return to normal.

“The back slide that 2020 caused is very significant,” said Rachel Savane, owner of Savane’s Silver in Downtown Lexington.

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Savane says she’s grateful for loyal customers and grants she’s received from the city, but she says difficult days are still ahead.

“It’ll take a while before, I guess, I get back to where I was before,” Savane said.

She says she’s seeing about 60 percent of her normal sales. The pandemic also forced her to amp up her online and marketing presence.

“I dipped into retirement funds to fund hiring a marketing firm,” Savane said.

She says it’s helped some, but most of her sales are in person. Savane says the experience of buying jewelry is personal, and she even had some customers request Zoom calls to see the gems as closely as possible without being in the store.

“A lot of the gem stones have light play, and so if it’s a static image, you don’t know how the thing looks different when you move it in the light,” Savane said.

A few miles away, Betty Spain, owner of Bella Rose Boutique, agrees. She says it’s just not the same online or curbside.

“Bella Rose is an experience,” Spain said. “It really, truthfully is come in here, kick your shoes off and let’s play dress up.”

Spain has seen a slight increase in online sales, but not much.

The boutique’s largest sales happen around special events such as the Kentucky Derby, Keeneland, weddings and more.

Despite the setbacks, Spain can only think about how fortunate she is to be a part of people’s special moments. That’s something she hopes will happen again soon.

“That’s such an honor and such a privilege to be able to share those moments with people,” Spain said.

Both Spain and Savane say they know some new methods of shopping will stick, but they’re counting the days until more anxious customers safely make their way back through their doors.