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Magazine Street business makes tough decision to close due to pandemic

"In New Orleans we rely so heavily on tourists, even though our locals have supported us tremendously, it wasn't enough to make it."

NEW ORLEANS — The pandemic has forced businesses all over the city to make tough decisions. Some have been able to push through this challenging time, others though haven't been so lucky.

For nine years, Queork has brought unique products to Uptown customers.

"It's been great, very successful, up until the pandemic," said manager, Alanah Flad.

Like so many others along Magazine, they shut their doors for several months and pivoted to online sales to try and stay afloat.

"Last Summer and Fall, that's what kept us in business were the locals," Flad said.

Life is slowly coming back to this part of town, Queork though is having to say goodbye.

"We held on for as long as we could," she said. "We see the tourists coming back, but it's not enough to save a whole year and a half of no tourists. In New Orleans we rely so heavily on tourists, even though our locals have supported us tremendously, it wasn't enough to make it."

Magazine has about 600 businesses. President of the Magazine Street Merchant's Association, Kevin Gillentine, says many of them have faced hardship over the past 14 or so months.

"I've been on Magazine Street for 25 years, and just going up and down the street I see a lot of property for lease, empty stores," he said.

He estimates about 10-20% of stores have closed over the past year. That doesn't necessarily mean it was because of the pandemic, but still knowing businesses have closed is heartbreaking. Gillentine says now more than ever, people should shop local.

"When you come out and support us you're supporting yourself because you're helping your local economy and property value and all that," he said.

"It's sad right now, it hurts right now," Flad said.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but Flad says she will always be thankful for her time at Queork and those who supported them.

The Magazine Street Merchant's Association is hosting a "Champagne Strolling on Magazine" event May 7-9. For more information go here.

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