WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
Oregon is entering the biggest shopping week of the year just as COVID-19 infections hit record numbers.
Even though Gov. Kate Brown is allowing 75% capacity at retailers, the best public health advice is not to risk death for a deal on a dishwasher.
But as you stay home and stay safe, spare a thought for Oregon's shopkeepers. Every consumer who pulls out a laptop and does holiday shopping from the couch seems like another victory for online shopping behemoth Amazon.
So where does that leave the state's small businesses? Jennifer Nolfi says the prospects aren't quite so bleak as they appear.
Nolfi is executive director of the Center for Retail Leadership at Portland State University—a training center and business incubator for students. She says the pandemic hasn't destroyed the idea of buying local.
For one thing, the migration to online shopping isn't as swift as you might think. For another, several platforms—including Built Oregon Marketplace and Shop Small PDX—are vying to create digital Portland shopping districts where local merchants can compete. Even the Portland Saturday Market has gone online.
In this conversation, Nolfi talks about the toughest challenges facing Portland shops. The biggest one? Amazon has a distribution warehouse. They don't.