Corrie Drummond

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry in a positive or negative way, including small businesses owned by Winthrop University students.

Keyanna Durant, a senior early childhood education major, operates the Amour Lavish Boutique, a social media-based business that specializes in customizing items such as shirts, shoes or masks.

Durant says her business has thrived during the pandemic.

“COVID has actually helped business, because I actually started over the quarantine so it was something for me to do,” said Durant.

Obiny Drayton, a junior chemistry major, who operates Lashin’ Out By Obs, which specializes in eyelash extensions, said her business has been impacted by the virus.

“I did have a situation where someone in my household actually caught COVID-19. I had to shut down my business for about a week until I found out my (test) results,” said Drayton.

“During that time I feel like there was a couple people who are on edge about coming at all because they had kids. So I feel like it did negatively affect my business there and I did stop for a week until I find out my results, which were negative.”

As a result, both businesses have had to make some changes to their structure due to concerns about the virus.

“I am afraid of being around other people and catching the virus, but I had to make a sacrifice for my customers so if they were to meet me or anything they would have to wear a mask to pick up their items,” said Durant.

Drayton said she sanitizes her equipment before and after each customer’s visit and checks temperatures at the door before each appointment.

However, she said she hasn’t seen much change in the amount of business.

“I would say sales are steady, (except) that time we had a possible COVID exposure,” said Drayton. “I think I refunded about $200…to all those people until all my results came back. So I would say COVID affected my business momentarily, but everything picked up once my test came back negative.”

Durant said she’s had a similar experience.

“The sales are really good right now, being that school is starting back. I’ve been making a lot of masks for children in schools (or) teachers to go back to school with,” said Durant.

While it seems the coronavirus has not affected these small businesses too negatively, but for other businesses the impact of the pandemic has been devastating.