Small businesses adjusting

By JOSHUA CAMPBELL,

In Columbia several small businesses have been forced to either shut down or dramatically change their approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tracy Dyess, owner of The Flower Shop on Church Street, had to make the decision to close shop and is strictly taking only floral orders by phone now.

“We’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” she said.

Dyess added that several weddings have either been canceled for smaller ceremonies or postponed, causing a big blow to her current business.

Broad Street Restaurant owner Jennifer Hasslevander said closing down the restaurant two weeks ago has been a pretty big deal financially. She said her family also has solid incomes coming in from two other sources, but each of them have been impacted by the coronavirus.

Male Image Barber Shop owner Barney Pittman reopened his business Tuesday but with a caveat. The Mississippi Board of Barbers and Cosmetology initially advised shops to close down but is now allowing them to serve one customer at a time, according to Pittman. While the barber shop won’t be taking walk-ins, customers can still get their hair cut by appointment.

Pittman said the board has issued sanitary guidelines for shops to follow but that he already followed them to begin with.

“I’m following the law according to the barbering board,” he said. “I’ve had customers called in for regular haircuts by appointment, but I’ve never operated by appointment in 29 years. It’s always been walk-ins. It’s a big difference.”

Dyess said she needs to learn more about the small business loans being offered through the $22 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last week before applying. Hasslevander said she plans to apply for the small business loans and has already discussed it with her banker, which will allow her to continue paying her employees. Pittman said he’s looked into it some, but he can’t seem to get information he wants to know out of it.

“It looks like it’s for bigger businesses than mine,” Pittman said.

Small business owners can apply at sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. 

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