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Worry of the failure of the Foremost Road enterprise rises once more with the pandemic whip

Margaux & Max managed to stay afloat with Dinges' Facebook livestreams and creative marketing, even if the retail store is closed for personal purchases.

Photo: Je Donna Dinges

Small business owners suffered a minor whiplash injury last year when Covid-19 took over the nation. Restrictions, at the discretion of state and local leaders, resulted in closings, reopenings, and limited activity in markets across the country.

New data from the CNBC | SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey for the first quarter of 2021 shows that the experiences of entrepreneurs on Main Street reflect this time of unpredictability.

While just over half of small business owners say they can stay open throughout the pandemic, 20% of small business owners say their stores were temporarily closed due to the pandemic and have since reopened, but with limited capacity. Additionally, 10% of small business owners say they have closed and haven't reopened. Another 4% say they shut down, reopened, and then shut down again.

The back and forth has weighed on the mood of small business owners and led the Main Street community to cancel President Biden's $ 1.9 trillion bid relief plan, according to the poll, which was conducted January 25 through January 2 across the country among 2,111 small business owners. 31 Using the SurveyMonkey Platform.

Je Donna Dinges relaunched her boutique for clothing and accessories, Margaux & Max, in a new, larger location at the beginning of March 2020. Within a few days, cases of Covid began to rise nationwide and the Ferndale, Michigan-based store was closed.

Je Donna Dinges opened her Margaux & Max boutique in a new and larger location when Covid spread across the United States. It had to close within a few days in March 2020.

Ever Donna Thing

She has not yet reopened her retail store to personal business, a conscious choice for things as she has an autoimmune disease and wants to limit her exposure. However, the entrepreneur is not deterred. To stay afloat, she broadcasts livestream fashion shows that she holds on Friday evenings in her shop on Facebook and shows her styling mannequins in all sizes with clothes and accessories. Your customers tune in, Dinges said, and then shop on the side of the road during the week and pick up their purchases.

"I am very concerned about my own health … and I am also very concerned about my clientele," Dinges said. "I made the decision to stay closed but not go out of business."

The CNBC poll found that small business sentiment fell to new lows in the first quarter. Confidence plummeted from 48 to 43 quarterly, the lowest since CNBC and SurveyMonkey started tracking confidence on Main Street in 2017. Additionally, the number of small business owners who believe they can work longer than a year fell from 67% in the fourth quarter to 55%.

The level of trust varied depending on the breed of business owner. The CNBC poll found that fears of permanent shutdowns are high among black small business owners. 37% say they can survive for more than a year in current conditions, compared with 59% of white small business owners and 55% of Hispanic small business owners.

Black-owned companies that have not reopened (25%) after a temporary shutdown due to the pandemic contrasts with 8% of white-owned small businesses.

Despite the challenges, the survey's Small Business Confidence Index finds that black small business owners continue to be optimistic and have a higher confidence rating for small businesses than their peers.

The paycheck protection program was a lifeline for some, but the program was tweaked after outcry by some businesses and advocates last year that the PPP was not serving smaller and minority borrowers. In January, when the $ 284 billion program restarted, community financial institutions, typically serving smaller businesses or possibly mission-based, first got access to the portal.

To date, more than $ 103 billion has been approved for more than 1.4 million small business loans, according to the Small Business Administration. According to the SBA, 82% of all loans went to companies applying for less than $ 100,000, indicating that smaller businesses were looking for help. In addition, nearly a third of the loans went to businesses in rural communities. Anti-fraud measures have extended approval times and loans were no longer approved on the day of last year as they were last year.

Underserved small business

Administration officials have stated that they believe the PPP will not run out of money like it did in April 2020 when the program first launched, and lawmakers continue to push for transparency about the demographic profile of corporate borrowing. President Biden has pledged to include aid to underserved small businesses in the form of grants and funding in his $ 1.9 trillion pandemic package, as small businesses are likely to need more lifelines when the PPP closes in March.

"When the administration is really getting grants directly to companies and business owners, it is actually helping the capital and working capital of those companies rather than just effectively acting as a passageway for their employees, which it naturally did." The intention of the PPP. She's invaluable in her own way, "said Brian Blake, public policy director for the Community Development Bankers Association.

Dinges said she struggled to get access to PPP funds last year and eventually reached out to Kabbage for a small business loan after being turned down. She is considering applying for a second loan this year and is optimistic about the future despite ongoing challenges. Their sales are down nearly 40%, but it could be a lot worse considering what Main Street has seen over the past year.

""I am definitely hopeful. As I drove through my church, I look at empty shop windows, which is sad. But I look at the empty shop windows of big retailers, "Dinges said." And it just struck me as these big retailers collapse and I'm still standing … the loyalty I get from my customers really moves me. "

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