Page 13 - BusinessWest August 3, 2020
P. 13

Step Inside
As Shoppers Gradually Return, Retailers Face Uncertain Outlook
FBy Joseph Bednar
or Dave DiRico, the forced shut- down of retail outlets across the Commonwealth in March could not have been more ill-timed.
After all, late March is when many golfers, a good number of them armed
with gift certificates from the holidays, start filing into his store in West Springfield, DiRico’s Golf & Racquet, and reload for the coming season. They come in looking for new clubs, balls, bags, shoes, and other accessories.
And they keep coming in through the spring, said DiRico, noting that, aside from the holi- days, March, April, and May are by far his busiest
But not this year, obvi-
ously, as he was closed completely until early May and then open for curbside sales only — something this business isn’t really suited for — for several weeks.
But when he did reopen ... well, the surge in business might not make up for everything that was lost during the shutdown, but it has been significant and in many ways surprising. Indeed, in addition to what
could be called pent-up
demand — people who needed to reload and had to wait until he was open to do so — the pandemic has actually created a mini-explosion of interest in golf, because it’s one of the few sports that can still be played under the current restrictions and advi- sories on social distancing.
“Things took off ... it’s been crazy,” DiRico told BusinessWest. “One of the few outdoor activities you can have right now is golf; we have kids who were supposed to do internships and can’t, and they’ve taken up golf. We have kids who played baseball and summer sports and couldn’t play those, so they’ve taken up golf. We have spouses who’ve never played the game who have taken up golf.
“Couple that with our regular business,” he went on, “and June and July have taken off like a rocket ship.”
“Shoppers are saying, ‘I just wanted to shop with somebody locally.’ We’re hearing a lot of that. I think that’s awesome.
   Jade Jump and Nate Clifford, owners of Cornucopia in Northampton.
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