Midstate businesses share lasting pandemic impacts

Local

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Although pandemic shutdowns are in the past, some businesses are still dealing with their impacts.

The spread of the coronavirus changed customers’ habits, including where and how they spend their money.

For many places it was a challenge getting business back once they reopened.

Rose Fiegl and Barb Hoffman, with Central Penn Fitness & Aquatics say many people took their fitness into their own hands.

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“I’ve heard some people have bought their own equipment and they’re doing that. Some people do online classes,” Fiegl said.

“Some people are used to just not exercising and it’s a bad habit that they’ve formed,” Hoffman said.

Barber Tate Yohe, who owns Neibert’s Barbershop, had a similar experience.

“A lot of people realized that they could, they could somewhat do their own haircuts at home,” Yohe said. “Honestly bottom line, it’s cheaper for them to cut hair at home than it is for them to come in and spend that on a haircut.”

That left the businesses struggling at first, but they adjusted.

For Yohe, new clients helped offset the loss of those who didn’t return.

“We did a lot of fixing of haircuts when guys came back to the barbershop. They were letting their wives cut their hair or they were just hacking at it,” Yohe said.

At Central Penn Fitness, older members helped them fill the gaps.

“Seniors I think are more likely to come back into the environment here again for what we said about the socialization and the camaraderie. Whereas the younger people are making other arrangements,” Hoffman said.

They aren’t quite up to their pre-pandemic numbers but are hoping they’ll get there soon.

“We hope it’s not forever,” Fiegl and Hoffman said.

Neibert’s Barbershop has fully recovered and is getting even busier from the holiday rush.

“You don’t realize how important a barber is in a guy’s life until you take him away for three months,” Yohe said.

Both businesses are still doing a ton of cleaning, which is likely a permanent pandemic change.

Neibert’s Barbershop is now appointment only, something they don’t plan to change any time soon.

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