Small Business on Life Support

(LFC Comments: Thanks to our Kirtland lobbyist for this article.  Sadly,  many small businesses will not survive this pandemic.)
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Not Even the Crumbs

As a true small business owner (five employees), I am expressing the frustration of this entire situation . . . the pandemic, politics, loans and grants, and the uncertainty. It is becoming overwhelming for many of us.

getting the crumbs

I’ve seen and spoken to hundreds of small business owners who applied for, and did not receive, the government PPP loans. We were told that the funding ran out, only to learn that many large, publicly held companies received hundreds of millions of dollars of the funds supposedly earmarked to help us survive in these trying times.

It seems like, and is now being reported, that the big banks made mostly big loans, to a few very big businesses until the program ran out of funds. This left very little aid available for true small or family-owned businesses.

Small stores are bearing the brunt of these issues in another way as well. Walmart, Amazon and other big box retailers are doing more sales volume now than ever as a result of this pandemic. Pre-Covid, they were already affecting small businesses. There are truly a few essential businesses which we all know should be open, but why should Walmart be allowed to sell jewelry, clothing and sporting goods while small jewelers, clothiers and sporting good specialty stores are not.

Why should Target be allowed to sell electronics, greeting cards and lawn care products while our local card store, lawn care center and independent electronics store must remain shuttered? There are many more examples of this. Big Box retail has done enormous harm to small businesses, and this is just another nail in the coffin.

I, and I’m sure most small business owners, paid our quarterly payroll tax this month of many thousands of dollars. We business owners were also told we could claim unemployment. I did so a few weeks ago for the very first time in my life. We were also promised an additional short term stipend of $600. As of this date, I have seen neither, nor have we seen the $1200 stimulus check.

Since my wife’s work provides income for our family, it’s not a grave concern for us, but what about the thousands of others that have no other source of income or health insurance. How are they supposed to survive?

I agree that for a myriad of good reasons — including avoiding the spread; keeping our health care systems functional and safe; and protecting the most vulnerable — we all need to work together. However, the rich keep getting richer. The large banks, the large retailers and the connected are winning.

When this is over, your favorite corner market, coffee house, restaurant, clothing store or other family owned businesses will be gone. And we are the ones who give back to our communities.   Think about it.

Stephen Miska, Camp Hill and State College, Pa.


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