Week 2: Consumer Surveys + Existing Research on COVID and Asian American Small Businesses

Apr 08, 2022

While my Senior Project is centered on examining the multitude of issues impacting businesses in Chinatown, I took this week to hear from Chinatown shoppers and community members through surveying. I know in last week’s blog post I said I would share and have surveys conducted from Chinatown merchants and small businesses. However, I first wanted to turn my attention to those who buy from the community and learn more about the shopping experience in Chinatown. After all, to understand the reasons Chinatown businesses are struggling, one must determine the shopping patterns and the reason why less people are visiting, frequenting, and supporting Chinatown.

For this survey, I filled it out myself and also reached out to friends, family, some BASIS Independent Brooklyn teachers, nonprofits that I have worked with, and acquaintances who frequent Chinatown. This anonymous survey was created by Think!Chinatown, NYC Small Business Services, and the Chinatown BID. I spoke to some of these family members and friends about their experience shopping in Chinatown after they completed the survey.

For me, I realized that my shopping experience in Chinatown has always been oriented around buying groceries and lunch when we went to the neighborhood to visit family. The survey made me reflect on the fact that I have visited Chinatown less because of the pandemic and because it is not always convenient for me to go since I live in Brooklyn. Also, the only way to go out to Chinatown for me is by car since it is not convenient by train. For my parents, who have spent their entire life visiting Chinatown, they have always put an effort to buy groceries in Chinatown but also cite that because of the pandemic, it is simply inconvenient to go out as frequent as we used to. For my grandparents who live in Chinatown, they go out and shop in Chinatown less out of fears of catching COVID and also fears of the public safety in the neighborhood. Although I spoke to many others about how the pandemic has been a major factor for their decreased shopping involvement in Chinatown, I thought it would be interesting to highlight in my blog post this week the way my family’s support for Chinatown has shifted to become less frequent. This survey highlights a major issue for businesses that has been created by COVID and needs to be addressed.

Although I have examined multiple sources over this week, I want to share what I have learned from a research report from the Asian American Federation that I started reading last week and talked about briefly in my last blog post. In Small Businesses, Big Losses, I received insight into existing findings about why Asian American small businesses during the pandemic and some possible changes to improve their current situations. In this report it shared what systemic issues existed that blocked these businesses from getting support and aid. It emphasized how the pandemic and anti Asian bias are heavily responsible for why Asian American businesses are struggling to recover and stay afloat.

Knowing what I have gathered from the consumer surveys and talking to people in my life, I am now left intrigued and desiring to learn more about what merchants and small businesses believe are the problems and solutions to Chinatown’s economic crisis. I hope to answer the questions that I wrote in my last blog post.

Thanks for reading my second week post!

One Reply to “Week 2: Consumer Surveys + Existing Research on COVID and Asian American Small Businesses”

  1. Sofia C. says:

    Courtney, glad to hear your surveys and research allowed you to gain insight on how businesses were affected due to COVID. Looking forward to next weeks post!

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