This article is part of an ongoing series of life in the Washington DC area during a pandemic
As I write this, 94,477 deaths in America have been attributed to the coronavirus. Of course, each of those deaths represents a tragedy to friends and family. However, the high human toll of fatalities are not the only permanent endings being caused by the effects of COVID-19. In an effort to try to control the spread of the pandemic, most businesses in more than 40 of the 50 American states have been temporarily closed.
With no money coming in, some small business owners are seeing no chance of ever reopening and are opting to close their doors for good.
The latest such casualty here in my extended Washington DC community of Crystal City is the Crystal Custom Tailor Shop, which has operated in the Crystal City underground for 27 years.
The business is operated by Yun Hung. Hung has announced that his last day of business will be May 25th. The reason for his closing is simple. “Nobody come in. I can make no money so it is time to go,” he says.
Like most of the small businesses in Crystal City, Hung depended for survival not solely on the 22,00 community’s residents, but on the additional 60,000 workers who come here Monday through Friday to work. Or more properly you could say came here to work until March, when orders went out for workers in all the major employers here like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, PBS, and government offices to work from home. It’s estimated that much fewer than 1,000 of the normal 60,000-work force are still commuting here.
The closing of the store, which specialized in rental and sale of tuxedos, as well as alterations to high-end suede, leather, silk, and mink garments, also marked he end of Hung’s 55-year career as a tailor. The 77-year-old began that career in his native South Korea. “I had friends here and they say ‘this is where you want to be. So I came and opened this store”.
So with a smile on his face, Hung said he accepts the closing. “What are you to do? I guess it’s time for me to just start slowing down,” he said, inserting the key in his door for one of the last times ever.