As consumers recover from holiday spending, small businesses on Tucsons southside are seeing the impacts. For owner Ruth Matheson of Yayas Alterations, its been months since she made a profit.

The past couple months have been pretty severe. Weve just been able to cover our expenses of our payroll, our utilities and our rent, said Matheson.

Loyal customers like Rachel Bracety are the reason shes able to keep her doors open.

I live in Marana. Getting here, I mean its 45 minutes, but I love her so Im here again, said Bracety.

Still, the support has only gone so far. Times like this remind Matheson of when she first took over the business during the pandemic. She had to get creative to expand her customer base.

For doctors and nurses and things like that, thats what keeps us busy when were not selling our high end dresses or doing alterations for weddings, she said.

She found a need in custom uniform alterations and focused her marketing on that through social media. She added that using her platform has allowed her to bring in new customers.

Thats been phenomenal for us. We get a lot of different people coming in for that.”

Theres another piece to the puzzle thats kept business afloat: Her ability to build a loyal customer base.

If I can give back to a small business to make sure they sustain, versus going into a department store where theyre going to be there no matter what, Id rather give to a small business, said Bracety.

While Yayas Alterations is just one example of a business that faces challenges, its also an example of common solutions.