Business was booming in Southwest Florida. Then it was not.
Before the chaos brought on by Coronavirus, it had been predicted, based on estimates from the National Retail Federation, SWFL consumers would spend 4.1% more in 2020 than they did in 2019. On April 3, however, when Florida's Governor shut down the state, the expectations of growth for many small business owners were replaced with fights for survival.
As the state prepares to reopen, Fort Myers-Naples area small businesses will learn that turning the lights back on and hanging out the welcome sign might not be enough to bring even the most loyal customers back.
Some customers will not return because of personal safety concerns. Other customers may have discovered alternative sources to purchase goods and services.
More likely, though, customers will not come back because a business has lost a valued parcel of real estate: the position at the top of a customer's mind. This is the place where purchase decisions are made.
There is a way to regain top-of-mind status. First, though, it's important to understand why a business can be forgotten so quickly.