Mass COVID vaccine rollout proving to be a shot in the arm for local businesses
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The mass COVID-19 vaccine rollout at The Pointe at Barclay, off Independence Avenue and 17th Street in Wilmington, has been a real shot in the arm for local businesses that have struggled since the pandemic. Overnight, crowds are flocking back into that shopping plaza.
Fred Sullivan lives off Murraysville Road. He’s in line, not for a COVID vaccine, but for a bagel. He figured while he was here, why not.
“I’m waiting now for my second shot,” he said. You know, the older you get, you want to get here early and get it out of the way.”
Thursday’s blustery weather, with winds gusting to 30 miles per hour, made it feel below freezing. So, it may have felt like winter, but it looked like a busy pre-pandemic summer weekend. The parking lots were filling up with cars hunting spaces as the COVID vaccine rollout continued.
“Our business has been up 25 to 30 percent,” said John Monoco, who owns the Bagel Meister bagel shop at the Pointe. He says it’s been amazing to be a part of this effort, even if it’s on the fringe. “It’s been amazing to be a part of this. It’s been really good for business; we’ve had a lot of new faces in here. People are coming in and saying they didn’t even know we were here.”
Far from France is a bakery and sweet shoppe that reminds people, international travel isn’t on the horizon anytime soon. Alban Pelletie owns the place. He said the added foot traffic has been a real boost.
“You can’t help but notice. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of last week, it was really busy. A lot of people still see this as a new area, so they’re coming in, discovering what we have” Pelletie said.
“We’ve been catering, every single day, day after day after day,” said Maria Chandler, the GM of the Which Wich sandwich shoppe. “It’s been amazing to be able to help feed the hospital staff. You know it’s been slow for so long, this has really been terrific.”
The COVID vaccine rollout has built in a crowd base this shopping center hasn’t seen in a while. The manager of Tavern on 17th is using a sign board to lure people in and keep them from rushing back home. The board offers a discount for diners who show proof they’ve had their vaccine.
“Every little bit helps,” said John Monoco. “We just hope they remember us and keep coming back.”
All the vaccinations done at The Pointe are done by appointment only. To learn more about what’s there, once you stop by, click here.
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