The coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken a toll on small businesses, but Hayden Sports in downtown Durham has pushed their way through.  

The Boston Globe called Hayden Sports a great place for the young at heart in 2014. The clothing shop, which sells University of New Hampshire (UNH) apparel, remained open during the pandemic and continued to sell, even during the statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses in the spring of 2020. 

Store owner Roger Hayden took advantage of this time to revamp their website for online shopping. The shop’s site stated that they introduced their merchandise online in 2005. Since then, the website has been a large contributor to their sales.  

“This is all about cash flow,” said Hayden. “We started doing sales on sweatshirts and things like that and all of the sudden the website was up 400%. Over the two to three months that the store was closed, we weren’t up in sales by any means, but we weren’t way down either,” recalls Hayden. “Other places found it difficult to operate because of COVID and things like that, so we stayed open.”  

According to the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center’s recent survey, 70% of respondents reported a decrease in monthly revenue.  

UNH student Lauren Dubois has worked at the shop for almost two years. 

“We only let ten people in at a time during the heat of the pandemic. We’ve done the best we can to prioritize health while trying to do well as a small business,” commented Dubois. “Our website sales boomed greater than ever before, and it’s still thriving because we implemented curbside pickup and customers just loved this.” 

“It’s crazy how far we’ve come in a year,” said Dubois. “We’re actually doing better currently than we were right before COVID even began.” 

Hayden compared this year’s statistics to last, “I was stunned when I looked at the final figures, the COVID ‘November and December’ actually beat the non-COVID ‘November and December’ of the year before.”  

Photos courtesy of Hayden Sports.