Small businesses looking to community for help during stay-at-home orders

With stay-at-home orders issued across the country, many small business owners are left wondering how they will survive. State and federal governments are doing what they can to help, but some business owners are now asking their patrons for support.

The Small Business Development Center Network has centers across the country. They are working to help business owners and entrepreneurs better understand new programs available to them through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Pat Nye with the Los Angeles Small Business Development Center Network says every little thing helps. “We’re encouraging people to, you know, take advantage of small businesses where they might be able to buy gift cards, sending flowers, or even shopping ahead for occasions like birthdays and holidays if you can.”

While many small businesses are now waiting for loans from the government, they’re also looking to the community for help, asking them to purchase gift cards, order food or products and contribute to tip jars. “They need us now more than ever, so we’re doing our part,” says Jeremy Cudd, who bought 100 small business gift cards to use in the future.

Across the nation, virtual tip jars have started to help employees who have been laid off.

At the Little Door restaurant in Los Angeles, there’s an unusual silence that worries general manager Michael Gannon. “Everybody is going through it, it’s devastating. And we’re at a loss,” he says. His empty restaurant is a familiar scene across the country. The only orders are takeout or delivery. Most of the staff has been let go. “There are four of us now and there were 48 before,” Gannon says.

Trina Belton is the owner of Spa Le La, a full-service spa in Los Angeles that offers on-site childcare. She says her business came to a halt and right now there aren’t many options for revenue. “I come here, I bag up products with gloves and a mask, and I hand deliver them to people’s houses,” Belton says.

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