Small businesses struggle through lockdown

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT
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As small businesses are struggling, a lifeline many were counting on has run out of money. The government's

is helping some of our local businesses, but not all.

Diane Speaks owns Shes International Boutique in downtown Roanoke. Like many small business owners, she is wondering if her store will be able to survive this lockdown.

"I don't know, I'm a little nervous about it," she said.

Her store is still open for online orders but she is losing that constant influx of customers, including many visiting from out-of-town.

Speaks also has not received any money yet from the government. The Paycheck Protection Program was lending money to small businesses, but it's been put on hold after running out of funds.

"I think that could make a difference and I'm hoping they will stick by their commitment to help us. I don't know how long it will be and most businesses can't wait 6 months, 8 months," Speaks said.

The Director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Amanda Forrester, is also optimistic more money will come from the government.

"We have many, many, many businesses who were able to get the loans and are putting it to good use . . . We also have many that did not get in that queue and we're incredibly hopeful that more will get released," Forrester said.

She says this crisis could really take a toll on small businesses.

"Just like with any disaster, this one certainly has great magnitude, but we know that in any disaster, there will be some businesses that won't be able to reopen," Forrester said.

The Director of Economic Development for Roanoke, Rob Ledger, says we should continue to support these businesses through this tough time.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy," he said.

Speaks said, "I'm calling on my angels in heaven to help us out."

She says while her business struggles to afloat, it's the health of her family and friends that matters most.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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