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'We are all in this together' | Charlotte small businesses hit hard by COVID-19 impacts

As many are staying home and practicing social distancing, local businesses are being hurt by a drop in customers.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is no question — small businesses in Charlotte have been hit hard by COVID-19. But they're getting creative, and the community is coming together to help figure out new ways of doing business 

The only people at one of Charlotte's most popular fitness studios today are the owners. Normally, they see about a thousand people a week.

"It feels really unsettling — like every other small business in the country, we're figuring it out," Hilliard Studio Method owner Liz Hilliard said. 

For Hilliard Studio Method, that means offering online classes as a way to make up for some of the lost revenue.

"We don't have a cushion so we are all in this together, the small business owners," she said. 

That's exactly the premise behind this new website: supportlocalorelse.com, which was started by two small business owners in Charlotte. Business owners list promotions they're offering and Charlotteans can find all the information in one place.

Corri Smith is one of the co-founders of the website.  

Smith said the goal was to "create a resource for the community and the business owners so everyone can actually support each other in a meaningful way."

The town of Belmont is doing something similar, offering citizens suggestions on ways to support mom and pop shops. Smith runs a public relations firm in Charlotte — she's running a small business working with other small businesses.

"It's so stressful — we've lost clients, revenue its really upsetting," Smith said. "But I keep reminding myself everyone is going through this exact same thing."

Hilliard says they're doing their best to think outside the box. 

"What are the opportunities in the midst of what seems like a horrible time- always a window of opportunity," Hilliard said. 

Smith says she's been amazed at the way everyone is coming together.

"The collaboration that has come out of this website is just sort of a perfect example of the greatness Charlotte has people willing to come together to help each other out," Smith said.

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