LANSING, Mich. — Many small businesses are saying they can't afford to reopen after being closed for so long. Alicia Nieves shows us what some are trying to do to save businesses and jobs.
“It’s an excruciatingly hard decision. You know small business owners put their heart and soul into their business.”
After more than a decade of owning this small gift shop on main street in Columbia, South Carolina Martha Studstill is closing her businesses permanently next month.
“Until COVID came along we were buzzing.” The plan for “Uptown Gifts”, in March, was to close temporarily for a few weeks. But it’s had to stay shuttered since. Only able to list items online, putting sales down by 75%. Sales aside and more importantly to Studstill the danger of COVID-19 especially for someone her age, hasn’t subsided.“When we closed on March the 16th , I really had no idea we would be where we are at today.”
With the financial risk added to her health risk of running the shop she feels closing is her only choice. “I think if I were younger, I would not have made the same decision, but I am where I am at.”
Around the country we are seeing a wave of permanent business closures. One report done by YELP shows more than a 143 thousand businesses listed on its platform closed between March and June and now, roughly 35% of those businesses have indicated their closures are permanent.
“The numbers that are coming out are really sad.” says Frank Knapp who heads the organization: Small Business for America’s Future. This organization is newly formed, to push for better help for small businesses in Congress’ next stimulus plan. “Our proposal for small business for America’s future is that we need to put together grants for the really small businesses to help them get through this recession so that they are healthy on the other side and our economy can get back up and running again.”
Saving small businesses, could save jobs and be the fastest way to rebound the economy. “Small businesses hire about 50% of all workers in this country we know from the last recession. It was small businesses that got us back on our economic feet again, not big businesses. Small businesses did the hiring right away.”
As Martha Studstill explains, “I think that this could be a defining moment where the general public could see just how important small businesses are to their community.”
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