Like most People, I breathed a deep sigh of aid when Congress agreed to a COVID emergency relief bill sending desperately wanted assist throughout our nation — from households who’re struggling terribly to companies important to our each day lives.
However this rescue bundle, whereas a welcome subsequent step, falls far in need of what’s important to holding small companies like mine afloat, particularly as we strategy the darkest days of the pandemic, and with a COVID-19 vaccine nonetheless many months away for many People.
Navigating this persevering with uncertainty requires greater than Congress’ survival stop-gap measure that may assist us solely limp into April. If we need to be sure that small enterprise house owners like me right here in Ferndale and throughout the U.S. can preserve our doorways open and our staff on payroll, we want a long-term restoration agenda that places us — the backbones of our communities — entrance and heart.
Belief me, this isn’t the place my fellow small enterprise house owners and I anticipated to be when this 12 months began. I started 2020 with plans to take Chazzano Espresso Roasters, the enterprise I based 11 years in the past with $500,000 and a dream, to the subsequent degree — hiring extra staff, making a cell espresso enterprise with a espresso truck, constructing out our Brooklyn Born Espresso Soda enterprise, and investing in franchising our enterprise.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced the whole lot to a screeching halt. We knew the shutdowns and ongoing restrictions had been necessary to the well being and security of all People. However for hard-hit companies like mine, these ongoing restrictions have pressured us to make troublesome, typically heartbreaking, choices simply to outlive. Since March, I’ve needed to lay off staff, downsize, lower our hours of operation, shut the cafe portion of the enterprise fully and tackle added debt simply to remain afloat. We have misplaced revenue from the dearth of in-cafe enterprise conferences, espresso cupping events and occasional catering. Our enterprise will depend on the face-to-face networking, schooling and excursions of our facility.
My story shouldn’t be distinctive. I am a part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Companies Voices group, and a survey final month discovered that 42 p.c of us have been pressured to put off staff or minimize compensation, greater than half needed to cease paying ourselves and a 3rd dipped into private financial savings to maintain our companies operational. It is much more bleak for Black small enterprise house owners — 61 p.c have forgone paying themselves and 58 p.c report utilizing private financial savings to remain open.
The just lately handed aid from Congress will assist bridge the hole for small companies over the subsequent 8 to 10 weeks however that may fall in need of the time it can take for a return to enterprise as regular.
Whereas grateful to legislators for agreeing on a aid bundle, I am pleading, as a small enterprise proprietor, for our elected officers to step up with a complete plan for small companies. We make use of practically half the personal sector workforce, and we want better entry to long-term capital, legal responsibility safety, and reasonably priced well being care and baby take care of our staff.
It isn’t simply the way forward for my small enterprise that is at stake. It is the way forward for our nation’s cities and cities — our Principal Streets — the place small enterprise house owners are on the core of thriving communities. I am so proud to be a part of what makes Michigan a terrific place to dwell and work, and to have constructed a small enterprise that invests in our group — from offering jobs with sturdy enterprise coaching, donating to all charities that request help, and offering espresso donations to low-income housing and homeless shelters.
Please be a part of me and different small enterprise house owners in urging members of Congress to assist us keep “open for enterprise.”