East Palestine small businesses sales still slow after train derailment
After the East Palestine train derailment, the village's chamber of commerce is trying to bring business back to the downtown area. Over the Easter holiday weekend, several small businesses offered special deals in hopes of bringing people back to the once booming district - but fell short.
“I was starting to pick up business wise up until the train derailment then I noticed business really cut back. We had some people cancel because they were getting pictures in town,” Brandi Guy, Owner of Eighth & Moon Photography said.
Guy offered special superhero sessions for kids at her studio but didn’t see too many customers. As a business that's reliant on people to come to her she said it's hard to ask people to come into town.
“We’re not sure if it’s safe. We want to think that it is but it’s a lot of misinformation sometimes,” Guy said.
Other businesses like the 1820 Candle Company didn’t see much foot traffic either on what would have been a busy Easter weekend.
“We understand why people have concerns and we just want everyone to know that they’re just going through the motions of the clean up and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to put this behind us sometime in the future.” Melissa Smith, Owner of 1820 Candle Company said.
The store offered specials on its line of candles - even one inspired by the townspeople.
“It’s an homage to the Italian cookie table and the toughness and resilience of the area so that's why we named it tough cookie,” Smith said.
Through the covid-19 pandemic, Smith adapted to not having in-person customers and built a website to stay afloat. Other businesses that solely depend on people coming downtown are hopeful things can get back to normal.
“People around here, this is where they grew up most of the time. This is their home,” Guy said. “They don't want to leave it and they shouldn’t have to.”