Reopening San Diego

Small Businesses Struggle to Survive the Pandemic

Small businesses are looking for new ways to pay their bills even as their storefronts are closed

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California is beginning the slow process of reopening, but many businesses will not be open any time soon. Small businesses have been looking for new ways to make money during the coronavirus pandemic.

"My income is gone," said Tanya McAnear, the owner of South Park's Bad Madge & Co. "I think I'm working three times harder for my dollar."

McAnear's shop sells vintage clothing and decor. It closed its doors on March 16, but McAnear has turned to the internet to keep her customers.

"Every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. I have live Instagram shopping," McAnear said. "It is so fun, I love it."

Even though McAnear has found some new ways to help pay the shop's bills, it wasn't enough to keep her three part-time workers.

"The money that I'm making is for my rent, my utilities, and the operating costs," McAnear said.

An April survey of nearly 700 local businesses found more than 60% of business owners need immediate financial support. More than half of the 700 businesses were laying off employees, totaling nearly 70% of their workforce.

San Diego's Economic Development Corporation has put together a large list of places businesses can look for financial help.

Bad Madge & Co. customers have been very supportive. McAnear said people want to help small businesses but aren't sure how.

"You've got to try new things and not be afraid of them," McAnear said.

Not every part of a small business can be put on a balance sheet. There is a human connection that many business owners are now missing. That's why Bad Madge & Co. also hosts Instagram Live events with other small businesses in the area.

"I love people coming into my store, I love having interaction with my customers," McAnear said. "That has really worn on me emotionally."

No one knows exactly when small businesses will get back to business as usual, or what type of economy they'll face.

"As a business owner, you cannot think that tomorrow is going to be the same as yesterday," McAnear said. "My stress level is so high that I have to remind myself that I'm doing my best."

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