Survey finds women-owned businesses are less likely to see strong recovery from pandemic impact

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DENVER — The pandemic shuttered businesses across the state, and while some have reopened, a recent survey shows women-owned businesses took the biggest hit.

COVID-19 impacted women-owned businesses at a greater rate than their male counterparts, and a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found women owners are less likely to see a strong recovery. The survey in July also found less than half of women business owners believe revenue will increase in 2021. They’re also less likely to invest in their business or increase staffing, compared to male owners.

Cherry Creek North is home to more than 150 small businesses and nearly half are co-owned by women.

Consuelo Diaz owns Adornments off 3rd Avenue at Cherry Creek North. The clothing and accessory boutique has been around for 24 years. Diaz worked at the shop, and when the owner decided to retire, she bought the store from her.

“It was a no-brainer,” Diaz said.

Six months after she bought the business, the pandemic swept the nation.

“I think everybody was scared,” Diaz said. “We saw the sales drop quite a bit.”

With the help of employees, Diaz reinvented her business. She began sending out emails and posting photos of clothing and accessories for people to purchase online.

“I think we have a fight in us that we can survive,” Diaz said.

Many people didn’t have events to shop for, so Diaz began asking customers if they had an outfit for “Taco Tuesday.” She suggested dressing up for Zoom meetings or showcasing outfits for virtual weddings.

Diaz doesn’t understand why women-owned businesses are suffering more than men’s, but she refuses to be part of the statistic.

“I always say it was three older women that jumped into action,” Diaz said.

Diaz applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and kept all of her employees during the pandemic. She believes as the weather warms up and more vaccines go into arms, more people will begin to shop and sales will increase.