Her Recession: Local small business owner balances struggling store with kids learning at home

SPOKANE, Wash. — Statistics show women are heavily impacted by the pandemic and are having to carry extra responsibilities. One Spokane business owner is trying to make sure her store survives the pandemic, while making sure her kids get the education they need.

Allyssa Shideler is a mom first before small business owner.

“Staying home with them was my priority,” she said.

While she tried to help get her kids through online school, her other baby, her store Finders Keepers, started losing money.

A store with formal wear is full of a thousand dresses remained untouched for nine months with no proms and homecomings. With large gatherings limited, it’s tough to sell any of her other formal dresses and accessories.

Shideler says she’s down 70 percent from what she normally gets.

While she was trying to figure out how to make the place survive the pandemic, she was struggling with her kids at home trying to learn.

“Being a mom and a teacher, and trying to be everything, is not easy,” she told 4 News Now.

Online school through Spokane Public Schools was tough. They then switched to home school for a little.

“There’s definitely days where I was so optimistic, like ‘Yeah, this is a great day. We did it today,’ and then other days it was just like melt down all day,” she said. “It’s always kind of like a rollercoaster.”

Eventually, Shideler put them in private school, needing them to go back in class.

She tells 4 News Now she had a lot of family support in putting them in private school, including getting help in paying it, but it was still hard.

“Being able to afford that when I don’t really have income was very difficult,” she said.

Now, her two kids are back in Spokane Public Schools, getting to go to class in person as a kindergartener and first grader.

Things at home are better, but she’s uncertain about the future of her store.

Shideler put the space up for lease, and she’ll be putting her dresses and accessories in storage until things get better. She tells 4 News Now she’s sad to have to move out of the spot, especially because it’s been on Main Avenue since 2006 and she’s seen the community grow. In addition to that, her mom previously owned the store, but continues to give Shideler support.

“I have to remind myself I’m not in it alone, everyone has been affected somehow, and hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

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