From opening to quarantine: where does the pandemic leave local businesses?

Managers of four local establishments discuss the threats COVID-19 poses on the survival of their businesses.

Ding+Tea%2C+a+local+boba+shop+in+Granite+Bay%2C+is+one+of+the+many+victims+of+slow+business+due+to+COVID-19.

Katherine Wilson

Ding Tea, a local boba shop in Granite Bay, is one of the many victims of slow business due to COVID-19.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases, millions of businesses have been heavily impacted. Big or small, local shops are struggling to survive.

Falafel Corner, a local Mediterranean restaurant, recently opened at the end of 2019. As the virus has inhibited their success greatly, concerns about their survival have arisen. The manager shares their distress.

“Before, we had five employees working, as we were a new business,” the manager said. “Unfortunately, we had to cut some people off, leaving only one left. Yet the most terrifying part is the unknown…what if we lose that one person?”

When it comes to the virus, many businesses have questioned shutting down. The manager at Falafel Corner worries, expressing their financial concerns.

“Staying open isn’t likely if this virus stays,” he expressed. “It’s the hard truth. The financial issues are too strong.”

As the pandemic continually proves to be problematic, this fear seems to be common amongst local establishments.

“We…assumed this pandemic wouldn’t last long,” said Melissa Nguyen, the owner at Ding Tea. “But it’s been a year now. How much longer until normal?” 

With the longevity of the shutdown, normal might not be an option. Due to the outbreak, Falafel Corner experienced a 25% drop in business from March to January while Ding Tea experienced a 50% drop. Bruchi’s Cheesesteaks experienced a 75% drop, and Petroglyph only had 50% capacity as well, leaving many businesses worried they may not even last until the pandemic ends. 

Regarding this game of chance of whether the business will survive or fail, many are left scared and confused. Tony Prahl, the owner of Bruchi’s Cheesesteaks expressed his concerns.

It’s a guessing game, and I wake up in the middle of the night terrified I picked the wrong card.”

— Tony Prahl

“The hardest portion is the undetermined,” Prahl said. “It’s a guessing game, and I wake up in the middle of the night terrified I picked the wrong card.”

Yet, despite the concerns about the possibility of closure, many communicated their fears regarding the safety of their employees that are working. 

“Obviously the health and well-being of my staff and family,” worries Jen Bergstedt, manager of Petroglyph Roseville.

Without stable, consistent requirements from the state or local authorities, it is clear to see how businesses are struggling to meet financial or health needs.

Yet, the hope for a better future continues. Ding Tea owner Nguyen tears up as she recalls how GBHS students support her business. 

“Even though we haven’t been open for long, I’m so happy, so grateful for the support we’ve gotten,” Nguyen said. “It’s a very scary time, but I’m so happy we’re being thought of.”

After questioning these businesses on their hope for the future, the responses were much alike:

“I hope people will continue to support small businesses,” Bergstedt said. “It truly means the world to us.”

“I hope for the future, a normal future,” Prahl said. “I hope for continued support, and I hope for Bruchi’s to continue on thriving.”

 “In this dark time,” the manager at Falafel Corner said, “all we can hope for is support until normal comes back around.”

 

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