ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) – The pandemic has been tough for small businesses making it difficult for many to keep their doors open. Now some Main Street entrepreneurs in St. Albans are hoping this Christmas, people will remember to shop local and help them recover.

“We opened yesterday for our grand opening and we had a really good response,” said T.J. Douglas. He is the co-owner of Crafts of the Coal on Olde Main.

The effort first started in a food truck during the pandemic. The owners thought it was time to open a storefront.

“We are all about being a little different and most people don’t think to open an ice cream shop in the dead of winter but why not,” he said.

Douglas’ mother just opened a second location of her shop a couple doors down. Across the street, Douglas and his partners opened another new business in October.

“This is The Tap,” he said. “This is what got us on Main Street. We always dreamed of doing a craft beer bar.”

Douglas like many small business owners is hoping to get a piece of the holiday spending pie.

“You know holiday seasons are very important to all businesses,” said business owner Guy Turturice. “Actually that tends to be a more busy time of year and it helps the businesses get through the slow times.”

Teri Blevins owns Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes that has been on Main Street for several years. She said the pandemic months have been hard.

“The losses we’ve sustained in the last two years are just astronomical. So holidays are even more important,” she said.

Blevins is staying optimistic and hoping people will remember to do some of their holiday spending in their communities.

“I’ve talked to lots of small business owners who literally have told me if we don’t have like a record-breaking Christmas we won’t be around the first of the year,” she said.

Blevins says the surge in new businesses on St. Albans’ Main Street could help bring new faces and new customers to the area helping everyone in the long run.