As businesses reopen in West Tennessee, they hope to start generating revenue again as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted government agencies and medical professionals to urge them to close.
The federal government has tried to help small businesses and paycheck protection program loans.
Some local businesses have been able to continue doing their work with these available funds.
Jill Wade is the CEO of Jack Hornsby Electric, a construction company deemed essential when businesses closed in March.
They continued to work, but incomes fell further.
“Fortunately and fortunately, we weren’t impacted as negatively as other industries, but due to social distancing our production went down,” Wade said. “And because customer revenue has dropped, some of them are missing payments, which is causing revenue to drop.
“So we’ve been impacted, and PPE has become an added expense because our employees need to be safe while working on a construction site.”
Tracy Alford is the owner of Bloom MedSpa, a business she started in May 2016 that is a medical aesthetic clinic that had to close when elective surgeries were ordered to stop on March 23.
“We’re being told to go home, and hopefully it’s only for a week or two and it will end up being almost two months,” Alford said. “We didn’t have time to plan or prepare for this, and had already booked two weeks as spring is a busy time of year for us.”
Alford was able to continue paying its employees and other bills.
“I understand we were the first company to receive the funds here from Bank of Jackson,” Alford said. “And that was three weeks after everything was shut down.
“It was used for rent, employee payroll and electricity bills – the basics. But who’s to say we won’t have ebb in the fall, so I’m doing what I can to put some of that PPP back into a reserve in case I need it later.
Celeste Harrison is co-owner of Harrison Pointe, a local business that works on catering equipment for locations throughout the region.
While they were deemed essential, their workloads have decreased because restaurant revenues have also fallen.
“Their income is going down, so they’ll only spend money when they absolutely need it, which is understandable,” Harrison said. “But if restaurants are closing or not doing as much business, that means we are too.”
Harrison said she tried to get a loan from her bank and couldn’t.
“People I deal with at my branch know me, but when I applied for a loan, I think I became a number once the demand went beyond the local level,” Harrison said. “I went to Bank of Jackson to see if I could get things done faster there, and I was able to get approval within 24 hours and got the funds much faster, thank God. “
Harrison has 11 employees and everyone has been paid for the past eight weeks, although work has been reduced.
All three owners are happy to do business, especially Alford, as she had to close her business. But all three said they hoped everyone would act responsibly to stay safe amid the pandemic.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty through all of this, and there will probably be uncertainty for a while,” Wade said. “But hopefully we can contain the virus and keep businesses and the economy going and keep everyone safe through all of this.”
Contact Brandon Shields at [email protected] or 731-425-9751. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at editorbrandon.