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Thread: Small Businesses

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    461

    Angry Small Businesses

    I spoke with friends of ours who a florists. They were saying a florist in the next burg over had told them they were closing permanently. They indicated that this closing for COVID-19 was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Our friends have told all their employees to go ahead a take another job, if they find one. As they've said, weddings and funerals are the money makers and both seem to be in doubt for the future. Three of the weddings they were providing flowers for this year have postponed until 2021. A fourth has cut the wedding to half the planned size, thus the floral order has been reduced accordingly. On the topic of funerals, they indicated that there has already been a trend toward fewer flowers. The COVID-19 requirements have, of course, resulted in basically no flowers for funerals. They suspect it will be a long time recovering, if it does.

    I worried for our friend's business as well. They both work in the shop, so no other income stream to get by on while things work out. I'm not complaining, as the shutdowns were probably necessary. I just wanted to bring a result to other's attention.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    27,335
    It's a tough time for small businesses. In my opinion, it takes a special kind of courage to be a small business person, of which I have none. Recently, my wife, who is away in central California homeschooling our 3 youngest grandkids, had a bad day so I went online and was surprised to find a florist still open and delivering. I had two bouquets of flowers delivered, one for the wife and one for the DIL, who is a pharmacist working in two associated hospitals. I did that in an effort to lift their spirits and for the sake of the business sake of the florist.

    I wouldn't want to be a small business person right now.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 04-25-2020 at 7:29 PM.
    Ken

  3. #3
    Not only am I keeping myself going, I am also paying for my wife's nail salon overhead. I have plenty of paying work to do, actually a bit more lately.

  4. #4
    The wife and I run a small business, all in our home and we're doing quite well. I do very little work for the general public, and we've never had an actual employee, all of which is a plus. Current sales are around 90% of last year's to date, but still ahead of 2018. The majority of my customers are companies that make or supply stuff to other companies, most of which are quite prominent. Picked up a few new customers too. We consider our pretty lucky...
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    461
    Yep, my business, job shop machining, is very, very busy. We have several major name customers that "required" us to apply for an exemption so we could remain operational after the state ordered manufacturing for most industries closed. I think it is a very, very different reality for retail type businesses that were ordered to close.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    53,000
    My part-time small business is still essentially shut down. Suppliers are finally back online, for the most part, but my clients, for whom I mostly do sub-contract work, are not operating or in need of anything currently. One, who is my most prolific client project wise, isn't leaving his home for any reason. So I'm using the time for personal projects and not venturing out for anything other than food, pharma and taking my older daughter to/from work. (food market) Fortunately, my business is small enough that my only recurring costs are insurance and accounting system fees and it's not really an income source for our household.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    224
    I'm glad to hear that some of your individual businesses are doing well. Unfortunately, on aggregate, this is and will be an economic disaster for many folks. Not just the business owners, but the janitors, the clerks, servers in restaurants etc. Unlike previous economic downturns one can't move somewhere else to find work- every area will be or is in terrible shape. One thing worse than this would be unchecked disease rampaging through the population... -Howard

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    326
    My business is pretty small, but since I do my work here where I live, and I work alone, I am able to continue working. I have enough supplies to build about 6 months worth of banjos, at normal rates, although for some other instruments I'll buy hardware as I need it. So far sales have been steady to slightly improved over pre-pandemic levels this year, and over this time last year. 95% of my sales are mail order anyway so that hasn't changed much. It's entirely possible that as the economic ripples spread my business will dry up, but so far it's doing fine. I have noticed that my YouTube and website views are both up substantially, I presume as a result of more people being at home. I'm hoping that business will stay strong, I have been saving money to buy a house and have been planning to transition to working for myself full time in the next 2 years, and now there's an extra layer of uncertainty about that, on top of the other levels that were always there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    53,000
    Related to this, the SBA disaster loan program for small businesses that do not have employees also ran out of money and I'm not sure it was replenished in the latest legislation. The terms were similar to the PPP loans but didn't have the payroll requirement since there is no payroll for these small businesses. They stopped taking applications and indicate that if you have an application already in, they would respond accordingly if funds ever became available again.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zachary Hoyt View Post
    My business is pretty small, but since I do my work here where I live, and I work alone, I am able to continue working. I have enough supplies to build about 6 months worth of banjos, at normal rates, although for some other instruments I'll buy hardware as I need it. So far sales have been steady to slightly improved over pre-pandemic levels this year, and over this time last year. 95% of my sales are mail order anyway so that hasn't changed much. It's entirely possible that as the economic ripples spread my business will dry up, but so far it's doing fine. I have noticed that my YouTube and website views are both up substantially, I presume as a result of more people being at home. I'm hoping that business will stay strong, I have been saving money to buy a house and have been planning to transition to working for myself full time in the next 2 years, and now there's an extra layer of uncertainty about that, on top of the other levels that were always there.
    I just went to your website Zach. From the reviews, it sure looks like you build a nice product! Good luck to you!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  11. #11
    The uncertainty is hard. We have a small retail greenhouse on my mother's side of the family. At first we weren't sure if we were going to be able to open, then we found out we could grow our plants but possibly not be able to open (what kind of hell is that?), then we were classified as essential, and now it looks like it could be a record year for sales. That was quite a roller coaster to go through starting the beginning of March. Now apparently, with everyone staying at home, and with a bit of uncertainly in the food supply, everyone now wants a garden.

    The problem is that the decisions on what greenhouses and garden centers will grow for this year were all made last year, since seeds need to be grown by the seed companies, the plug trays need to be started in January & February, the shipping needs be scheduled, etc. Normally when the economy is strong, flowers outsell vegetables, with vegetables outselling flowers in a poor economy. Last year the economy was going great and looked like it would continue this year, so growers expected flower sales to be strong and concentrated on flowers. Instead the opposite happened. Right now, there is a shortage of seeds at both the wholesale and retail level, with vegetable seeds in particular short supply. Unfortunately you can't fix the problem by just hiring more people to work at the seed factory; seeds need to be grown in advance, they have certain light and temp and seasonal needs, and apparently there is a shortage of available workers where they are needed in the chain.

    Our worry is that all these new and inexperienced gardeners are going to buy and plant when we open next Saturday, since the weather is going to be good, and then were are going to get a killing frost in mid-May (a fairly common occurrence in Minnesota), and then there will be a shortage of replacement plants. We always tell people wait to plant certain things when they buy them early, but we know from experience that they often don't follow that advice.

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