As many local businesses face hardships amid COVID-19 economic hurdles, the annual Small Business Saturday has become more crucial to retailers across the Tyler area.

El Guapo Records, located at 2461 Earl Campbell Parkway Suite B, sells new and used records, and the shop faced some struggles in light of the pandemic.

Owner Ian Power said his shop was shut down for quite some time as a result of COVID-19 and just reopened in July.

As the sole owner and employee, Power said he had to change the shop schedule from five days in a week to three.

“It’s pretty much been rough on retail,” he said. “It feels like more shopping is going online.”

He hopes people will use their dollars locally and be respectful and patient with others.

“If they want to do cool things other than the corporate environment, they need to support people that are putting their lives on the line and doing something they believe in,” Power said.

Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving created to help small businesses during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.

Velvet: A Vintage Collection in downtown Tyler, located at 253 S. Broadway Ave., sells vintage items, furniture, clothes and home decor. The shop just opened on Nov. 13.

Co-owners Brianna Akins and Olivia Montgomery are looking forward to people coming to visit their shop this weekend.

Akins said sales are going well she said they’ve heard a lot of people say Tyler needed a vintage shop.

“We’re really excited for Small Business Saturday,” she said, adding the shop was closed to prepare for the day dedicated to supporting small businesses.

Akins said it’s been challenging to open a new business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s weird to open up a business right now. We’ve been taking the steps we need to be successful,” she said. “We have to do a lot online and in person. It’s interesting.”

She stressed the importance of shopping local.

“When you support local and small businesses, you’re supporting your local community,” Akins said.

She added she and Montgomery are feeling positive about the shopping season kicking off.

Vintage’s hours are typically 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For this Saturday, Akins said the shop will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.

The record store hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

Velvet: A Vintage Collection and El Guapo Records both can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.