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Brazos Valley businesses feel the economic fallout of COVID-19 in 2021, shutting doors permanently

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 11:36:39-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — Two businesses in Bryan College Station have either closed, or are in the middle of closing, just over the last 2 weeks and freshly into a new year.

Businesses in the Brazos Valley are still feeling the wrath of the pandemic. Not alone, the pandemic is now also affecting those that once supported them.

"It's actually a lot harder than it seems like it would be," Cedar Rowe, Store Manager of Brazos Natural Foods said.

Brazos Natural Foods has been in the Brazos Valley for over 30 years, and is just one of the businesses in our area having to say goodbye, mostly due to the pandemic.

"The pandemic hit us really hard. We had a lot of issues getting product in.. a lot of supply issues, and then, of course, a lot of people ordering online, but also the owner is finally retiring after 32 years so that's the good news out of it." Rowe added.

One Brazos County resident, Peter Begley, stayed faithful to his in-person shopping experience, up until the very end.

"I love coming in, and having a small staff, where you meet people one-on-one. Learn about them, and they learn about you. They help you find products that aren't as easy to find in other places," Begley said.

A native of New York, Begley said he moved to the BCS area 6 years ago and has made stopping at his local supplement store a regular thing. The one-on-one treatment, is just 'one' thing he will definitely miss.

"I'm just going to keep searching from another home, just like this one." Begley said. "They basically help me shop, which is just so exciting, because you cant get that normally anywhere else." he added.

Store Manager Cedar Rowe says, seeing the customers they haven't seen in a while, make one last stop is hard.

"It's definitely hard, and I know we are not alone with it. There are a lot of people going through the same thing that we are. It's kinda like losing part of your family. I have been here for 4.5 years and I have known the family that owns the company my entire life. So, it's hard to say goodbye to it, and lose it to something that was just so out of control, that we had no control over," Rowe added.

Management says, the entire store is on sale and 50% off, and they will close doors at the end of this week, and what is left, will be donated right back to the community that has helped them over the years.

"My boss actually just messaged me today, and said, that he wanted to make sure that any pet food we had left went to the Aggieland Humane Society, and the rest of it, we will donate to the food bank, and probably also to Phoebe's home," Rowe added.

Another visible business, just half a mile down the road, is Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery, they are also saying goodbye. On a Facebook post Wednesday, the College Station location said they, "have sadly decided to close the business for good." 25 News reached out to Smallcakes and they said their closing was also due to the pandemic.