GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Homecoming dance cancellations have not only ruined an important season for high school students, but an important sales season for local dress shops.
Second Dance Bridal and Formal Consignment in Grand Rapids is a homecoming dress store that can relate to the business set back.
Stephanie Howard, the owner of Second Dance, says she is hanging on to her business by a thread, due to the ongoing pandemic and lack of sales.
"For a couple months, we barely had anybody come in. That happened with a lot of small businesses," said Howard. "It was a ghost town, and nobody wanted to come in for anything."
Sales for Howard started to drop right when the pandemic started in March, coincidentally the same time girls are shopping for their prom dresses.
"The pandemic started, right when prom started. So, it happened at the worst time, unfortunately. And I had hoped that this would go away in one month, and then it was two months. And we were getting closer and closer and it happened so fast, and they realized it was mid-May," said Howard.
Now in October, homecoming dances have been canceled too.
These cancellations have caused for a major loss in business for dress shops like Howards, a time when people are shopping the most.
In a typical homecoming season, Howard says she sells more than 200 dresses.
This season, she has only sold four.
"We just had a couple girls in this year shopping for a homecoming court dress they get to wear on the football field," said Howard. "There are no dances. So, there is nobody coming in to purchase gowns for a formal dance, which is a lot of people."
Luckily for Howard, she also sells bridal gowns at her store, which she says has kept her in business.
"We are surviving from bridal. We have people coming in for small weddings. A lot of people are doing backyard weddings, and they're looking for a dress in a couple weeks or a month,' said Howard. "I want to be here for the next dance when it is here. I would love what I do. And I really want to help the high schoolers find their dress in the future. So I'm hoping that time will come soon."
In the meantime, she's just trying to keep positive and encourage others to shop and support local businesses if they can.
"I know it's easy and convenient to go online and order gowns, but small businesses need people now more than ever. I want to be here, and any word of mouth helps," said Howard.
If you are looking for a bridal or formal gown and are interested in supporting Second Dance Bridal and Formal Consignment, click here.