Restaurants Retail

Pandemic hurts some businesses while boosting others

For better or worse, COVID-19 has changed the fates of area businesses.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on many restaurants and retail businesses ever since public shutdowns started back in March. The news — including right here on The Burn — has unfortunately been filled with stories of businesses closures. Big national chains didn’t escape the downturn and many mom-and-pops have suffered terribly. But not all the news is bad news. Some businesses have found the pandemic increased sales.

The Burn has recently had conversations with a number of folks involved in leasing and running shopping centers. We’ve gathered a list of some of the types of businesses which are struggling the most, and which ones are doing well despite the pandemic. The Burn found this interesting and thought you might also.


  • Sit down, full service restaurants
  • Daycares
  • Gas stations
  • Martial arts studios
  • Children’s tutoring centers
  • Dry cleaners
  • Dress shoe stores
  • Apparel stores

These make sense — people have been avoiding other people, be it at restaurants, or keeping their kids out of group settings. Things could get worse for sit-down restaurants when it gets too cold for outdoor seating. With few people going to the office, dress clothes and dress shoes aren’t being worn as often. This has led to less dry cleaning. And people are commuting less and using less gas.


  • Quick-service inexpensive fast food and fast casual restaurants
  • Pizza delivery
  • Wine stores and liquor stores
  • Athletic shoe stores — tennis shoes, casual shoes
  • Fabric stores
  • Tobacco stores
  • Home improvement stores — flooring, tiles, paints, etc.
  • Grocery stores
  • Dollar stores

These make sense too. People are eating at home — whether they are shopping at supermarkets more and cooking more, or getting their food via drive-thru lanes or booming delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub. Some people are probably stressed and could be knocking back a few more drinks than usual. People have more time — whether because they’re not commuting, socializing or they are out of work — so they are fixing up things around the home and doing more crafts and projects. And if money is tight, those discount dollar stores make your money stretch further.

These lists are by no means complete. There are so many other types of businesses, each seeing their own impact from the pandemic. And there are always exceptions to the rule — for example, consider a sit-down restaurant that has managed to create a whole new business model offering family meals to go. But overall, this gives you a snapshot of what is happening around Loudoun County and much of the country.



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