By Mike LaCrosse

BOSTON (CBS) – Business at Summer Street Barber Shop is down about 90% with area office buildings sitting mostly empty. “I’m going to be here even if I have no business. No one comes but I’m still coming in to keep Boston strong,” said Ali Kiswani.

The clothes on the bottom rack at Utopia Cleaners have been there for months. They belong to people who haven’t returned to their office buildings since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Like Summer Street Barber Shop, Utopia Cleaners will continue to close early until foot traffic picks up.

According to a survey released Thursday by the MassINC Polling Group, only one-in-three Massachusetts small businesses are fully open. Most say income dropped 25% in the first half of the year.

The pandemic is forcing downtown caterers like Fresh Food Generation to shift its business model to keep the money coming in.

“Office building business is really slow,” said Fresh Food Generation owner Jackson Renshaw. “We do most of our catering with hospitals these days.”

Renshaw is only seeing a handful of downtown office building clients returning each week. He and other small business owners are staying optimistic that their customers will return when they feel safe to do so.

“I am here to see them and give a good haircuts as usual,” said Kiswani.

Mike LaCrosse


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