By Donovan Levine
Kutztown is home to roughly 5,000 year-round residents, a number which typically doubles once university students return to campus. Without this influx of students for most of the 2020 semester, small business owners are struggling to get the support they need.
KU came up with a reopening plan that managed to briefly welcome over 3,000 students for the majority of the fall semester, a plan that was beginning to unravel after the first three week when COVID-19 cases skyrocket and students began a mass exodus from campus, as The Morning Call had also reported in September.
1,000 students chose online education to learn remotely and went home, leaving only two-thirds of an already smaller student body in town to keep Kutztown businesses afloat.
Small businesses all across the country have been disastrously affected by the pandemic due to its restrictions on dining, large gatherings and the fact that people are saving more and not spending.
According to the Wall Street Journal, much of the $670 billion that was granted to small businesses through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program has likely already been spent.
As many as 1.4 million small businesses across the US have already either closed up shop or suspended operations. Small businesses in Kutztown are no exception and face the same risks.
With the remaining students on campus, our involvement in the community is the most important thing for many of these businesses – especially with the uncertainty surrounding a second stimulus package.
Be it haircuts at CityCuts, a bite to eat at Tommy Boy’s or checking out a book at Firefly, anything helps make sure the folksy and pleasant establishments of Kutztown are here to stay.