The pandemic has been brutal for businesses large and small and especially so for those in retail and hospitality. In this issue of Strictly Business we look at retailers in the North Country that are facing the new reality and are making the necessary changes that will allow them to survive and thrive.

Our cover article features Garvey Auto Group with locations in Plattsburgh and Queensbury. Quick thinking at the start of the pandemic and a concern for employees and customers has motivated Marc Garvey and helped to produce strong sales despite obstacles.

Kristen Hardman is a woman of many talents: banker, remodeler, B&B owner, executive director of the Adirondack Sports Commission which brought the Iron Man competition to Lake Placid, gallery operator, and now gift shop owner extraordinaire. Read about her interesting career and her unique shop in this issue.

Next, we take a look at four restaurants/food service providers: Irises Café & Wine Bar, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, the Hungry Bear, and MHAB Fresh. All have made significant changes to their operations and menus in order to comply with new requirements. Some have made investments in new equipment while others have taken the opportunity to reevaluate their business plans and make long over due changes. Don’t miss their stories.

Locally owned retailers doing business in the shopping plaza at the intersection of Tom Miller Road and the Military Turnpike in the Town of Plattsburgh make up our next article. Mainely Lobster, The Looking Glass Hair Salon, Ernie’s Discount Tools & Liquidation, Zachary’s Original, and Pawfection Pet Grooming — all are independently owned but synergistic.

Champlain Centre has long been one of the biggest retail players in the area. No longer the high-end retail attraction it once was, the mall is changing with the times.

And then there is our Insight article featuring Chris Boire, co-owner of the Boire Benner Group. Chris is a North Country native who thought career success would require him to relocate to a big city. Good for him and good for the area that he found the success he sought right in his own backyard.

Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, wraps up this issue of SB with information about efforts to support local retailers and Small Business Saturday, scheduled for November 28th. Now, more than ever, it is important to do all we can to shop and buy locally. Our retailers have developed ways to make your holiday shopping safe and easy and they are ready to welcome you. As Garry urged, “Put down your mouse and shop locally.”

…and that’s good for business.