Struggles continue for small businesses in Cowlitz County

The homeowners of Stuffy’s II Restaurant in Longview opened their eating room regardless of Washington state’s four-week restrictions placing a pause on indoor eating.

LONGVIEW, Wash. — The struggles of small businesses throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the brand new restrictions in Washington and Oregon have been effectively documented. 

“It’s been tough, it has been actually tough” mentioned Longview restaurant proprietor Glenda Duling. “The first part, we lived by way of it. But this part, we won’t. There’s not sufficient money in to-go orders to maintain this restaurant.”

She and her husband Bud personal Stuffy’s II restaurant. On Sunday they made the choice to open their eating room to diners, regardless of Washington state COVID tips that put a pause on indoor eating.

“Been one of many busiest days of our life.” Bud Duling mentioned.

“We did extra even being open full yesterday.” Glenda added, “They had been right here to help us.”

The homeowners say even at 50% indoor capability, the restaurant barely will get by.

“At 50% we will tread water,” Glenda mentioned. “We do not make money, however we will tread water. But not at to-go orders.”

Bud mentioned he had no selection, however to try to save his restaurant.

“It was both open up or lose the restaurant,” he mentioned. “We’re not planning on dropping the restaurant except they only shut us down. And in the event that they do, we’re completely out of enterprise. Our 40 individuals are out of labor, so it is both a do or die scenario we’re in.”

In mid-November, Washington enacted a brand new four-week freeze for all businesses. Under the brand new set of restrictions, eating places weren’t allowed to have indoor eating, however might have out of doors eating. Those restrictions are set to run out Dec. 14.

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In Cowlitz County, the Cowlitz Economic Development Council (EDC) has tried to minimize the burden that restrictions and the pandemic have brought on small businesses. Since April, the council has distributed roughly $4.5 million for small businesses.

“That is nice and it helps, however on the finish of the day it is a band-aid and a really small one at that.” mentioned Lindsey Cope, vp of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council. “We are aiding them to not fully shut their doorways. They’re capable of pay lease, they could be capable to purchase somewhat little bit of stock, could preserve any person on an additional 4 weeks that they would not have in any other case, however we aren’t driving income into their pockets.”

Cope mentioned roughly 65% to 70% of all businesses are small businesses. She mentioned the overwhelming majority make use of lower than 20 individuals.

“Right now all people is simply zeroed in on, ‘How can we get by way of the following 4, 8, 12, 16 weeks and what’s coming down the pipeline subsequent?'” Cope mentioned.

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Along Main Street in the historic Longview part of town, Paige Espinoza places collectively an order on the Country Folks Deli. She’s been the proprietor of the restaurant for solely 2-1/2 years. The first 12 months she says was “implausible”. The final 9 months haven’t been.

“Sales actually have dropped over 50%. When they first shut us down, clearly we misplaced a ton of gross sales.” Espinoza mentioned.

She mentioned the best way issues are going, with the restrictions as they’re, is just not sustainable. Many enterprise homeowners concern the four-week Washington COVID restrictions will last more than 4 weeks.

“All of us as a gaggle, not simply me. If we do not get some severe assist, there will not be many locations that most likely will be capable to keep open.” Espinoza mentioned.

Cope mentioned Cowlitz EDC is placing on a Shop Local Saturday occasion on Dec. 19 to encourage individuals to continue procuring small.

“One of the most important issues common individuals can do, particularly by way of the vacation season: store near dwelling, store native.” Cope mentioned, “Put in somewhat bit extra further work to seek out that sweater or these leggings, or home made wreath or no matter it’s and purchase it that mom-and-pop store. That goes to go a lot additional in your area people than procuring on the large field shops.”

RELATED: ‘Put your money where your heart is’ and shop small, say Portland business owners

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