It is no secret that many small businesses have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, one such business that focused on helping others succumbed to the virus this month.
The Women’s Gift Exchange, located in Sherman’s Kelly Square, closed its doors in June after 10 years in business.
The store that sold unique gifts and the work of many local artisans gave its earnings away to nonprofits and just could not come back from the shut down caused by the pandemic.
WGE founding member and volunteer Carolyn Nicholson said the group of women behind the shop were sad to have to make the decision to shut the shop down but they just were not able to overcome the deficit caused by the shut down.
She said nonprofit always gave away the money it raised the year before in January. They did that this January never expecting a world-wide pandemic to cause them to shut down right before the spring season that generally brought in business for as shoppers looked for unique gifts for Mother’s Day, graduations and weddings.
"We weren’t able to get our money flowing again," she said.
She said the pandemic also caused the group to cancel its major fundraiser of the year, tablescapes, and its members did not feel like the current economic climate was right for asking local businesses for donations to the store. The store had only one paid employee but overhead costs were an ongoing issue.
So they decided it was best to go ahead and shut the business down.
"We were really sad to close our doors but we had ten great years," she said.
The group was able to make donations to local charities that ranged between $1,000 the first year to as high as $14,000 in recent years.