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Your Voice. Your Story.

Business Owners

How has the pandemic affected your business? Have you had to close your business? Did you have to permanently lay people off?  Are you having trouble implementing safety guidelines? Were you unable to get federal aid and you don’t know why? Continue this discussion on the BUSINESS OWNERS FORUM.

Damian
S

,

Michigan

"To hear professional business counselors say, 'I don't know what else there is to do,' just goes to show that we tried everything."

I have a 2100 square foot coffee house/ entertainment space. That’s huge for a coffee house. I had a really strong relationship with the SBDC locally. I had two counselors that I had already been working with because I just opened up another business in January. So when the pandemic hit, I had immediate advice.

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Jyl
N

,

Florida

"We've been berated. We've been screamed at. I had a lady say that she's going to have my job for this."

I work at a hotel that has a restaurant inside downstairs and a rooftop bar, which is where I work. We spaced all of the tables six feet apart, and we cut our capacity, even though we didn’t technically really have to since we were outside. Our dining room downstairs did the same thing, removed a lot of tables, spaced them all out, cut the capacity of the normal dining room in half. And we’ve stuck with that the entire time we’ve been reopened.

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Manda
M

,

Michigan

"I feel like we have been left behind."

I really wish that people would realize that there are businesses that are still not open. I don’t know if it is just local or if it’s national, but I feel like we have been left behind. There was so much attention when the salons and the bars were closed. I mean, they were protesting in the capital with AR 15s because they couldn’t get a haircut. In the early days, there was so much talk about the restaurants and how we should get carry-out. I feel ever since those places opened, there has been no talk about the other businesses that are still closed and need help. (Manda is the owner of dance school, who under the current state guidelines, is not allowed to reopen.

Stefanya
M

,

Michigan

"I'm Not a Grocery Store, I'm Not a Retail Store, I'm Just a Small Dance Studio."

“I’m not a grocery store, I’m not a retail store, I’m just a small dance studio. We are one of the few things that still isn’t allowed to open yet. No one is paying attention, it’s just something that people don’t think about.”

My business is a dance studio called Rhythmic Sky Studios, we’ve been open almost 20 years. We average about 170 to 180 students per year with anywhere from 5 to 10 teachers. We have a competitive team and in March we were just one week away from our very first competition of the season before we had to close for the pandemic.

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Luisa
F

,

Texas

"We live by this: 'Never give up'; 'Follow your dreams'; 'Work hard'."

We, Luisa and Michael, met in Queens, NY in the spring of 2016. Only after a few weeks of spending everyday together, we decided to leave our jobs at Toyota and drive to California with Michael’s dog Honey. California was the place that sparked our vintage/antique interests as we traveled to various flea markets in the Bay Area selling vintage items that we had found. California was amazing but the costs of living reminded us too much of NYC so we sought Austin, TX as our new home on Jan 2, 2017. This is where we started an estate sale company from scratch and also where we started to have booths in various antique malls. The estate sale company Vintique Estate Sales started to get traction and by mid 2017 it was a well oiled machine. At one point in 2018 we had two sales a month and we were in three different antique malls selling our digs. We had an idea, “What if we start our own antique mall? We would be saving on paying all this rent, etc.”

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