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home : columns : dear harriette February 25, 2021

1/2/2021 8:26:00 AM
Reader wants to support local stores

DEAR HARRIETTE: New York City will be closing indoor-dining restaurants and will be allowing only takeout orders and outdoor dining. It is now winter; outdoor dining is not really something that I imagine people will still want to do, unless they go to places that have heated patios.

Unfortunately, a lot of smaller businesses are afraid that they may face having to go out of business. What are your viewpoints on the pandemic and small businesses this winter? How do you think they will be affected? Do you believe landlords will cut business owners some slack due to the pandemic? I'm thinking about all of my favorite mom-and-pop shops that I know I will be trying to support this winter as much as I can because I do not want them to go away. -- Make It Through the Winter

DEAR MAKE IT THROUGH THE WINTER: The pandemic has dramatically and negatively impacted many small businesses, especially restaurants. This is true in New York City and beyond. The good news is that there is light on the horizon if vaccines reach enough people and have a positive impact.

Yet not all businesses will be able to hold on. What I hope is that landlords and small businesses will get creative and work together to ride this out. Of course, not all will do this -- but the alternative seems particularly grim. When landlords evict tenants today, it's not so easy to find a replacement. Thousands of small businesses are suffering. So, ideally folks on both sides will work together toward a realistic outcome for all. Sadly, not all businesses will survive. We have already lost hundreds of thousands of businesses across our great country. Those who can get creative along with those who have deeper pockets may be poised to survive.

As consumers, we can do our part by frequenting as many of our favorite businesses as we can during these unprecedented times.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I keep in touch with my first ex-boyfriend. We have both gone on to build families and have great lives. Recently, he asked me to be a guest speaker at one of his classes, and I'm excited to do it. I'm wondering how I should identify myself. We are middle-aged people who have known each other for almost our whole lives, but he also holds a very special place in my heart because he was my first love. His class is a group of high schoolers, the same age we were when we dated. Am I traveling too far down memory lane to want to bring this up when I meet his class? Should I just keep it professional? What is appropriate? -- Who Am I?

DEAR WHO AM I?: Why not take your friend's lead? Let him introduce you to his students and state who you are and your relationship to him. When you speak, you can say that you two have been friends since high school, but don't go into the romantic side of it. Stay professional. Stay focused on the lesson that you are imparting. You can add that it is important to maintain relationships over the years with the people you value. You two are a perfect example of that.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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