How Corning’s Gaffer District is trying to reinvent its retail industry


CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – During the pandemic, the retail industry coming up with creative ways during the pandemic to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, such as curbside pickup, delivery, and e-commerce.

“When Consumers feel like they can get out and shop in person that’s what they’d rather do,” said Coleen Fabrizi, the executive director of Corning’s Gaffer District, Inc.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused huge spikes in online sales growth for smaller retail businesses, according to data from the online retail industry association IMRG.

According to the National Retail Federation, they expect 2021 retail sales will grow between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent over 2020 to between $4.33 trillion and $4.4 trillion.

“I’ve just been doing a lot of videos on Facebook that way if they’re not comfortable coming in, they’re still getting to seeing new arrivals,” said Sarah Files, owner of Pip’s Boutique.

“It’s getting a little bit better, I think, with the vaccine and warmer weather coming, but definitely when it was the holiday and in colder months, it was much quieter, so you had to more creative,” said Files.

Along with making sure that all CDC guidelines have been followed throughout the pandemic, these local businesses continue to do the delivery, curbside pickup, and e-commerce tailored to their customer’s needs.

Corning’s Gaffer District is coming up with specific promotions and plans to help the industry get back on its feet.

“We need the customers to support these local businesses so that when we get on the other side of this, those businesses are still here,” said Fabrizi.

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