35% of Small Business Owners Are Still at Risk of Closing for Good by Summer’s End

Continuing economic fallout from the pandemic.

The masks are coming off, people are starting to travel again and we are returning to a “new normal.”

The problem with the “new normal” is that it might not be “business as usual.” For those businesses who have hung on up until now by restructuring and cutting back, and perhaps getting government economic assistance, it might not be enough in the long term.

I’ll give you a “for instance” from today. I’m on the commuter train going into Seattle. In talking to the station master, I learned that ridership is still down about 90 percent. It certainly is much easier to get a parking spot close to the train station these days.

However, what this means to small retail businesses that depend on foot traffic in a downtown setting is disaster. Thus, the survey and information below become important. I’m also thinking about how the Memorial Day weekend was a bust on the Northeast Coast. Cold and stormy weather kept the crowds away and what should have been a very big day, the biggest since the pandemic began, failed to produce. It does not take many events like that to take a small business down, after already being down for over a year.

From an email I received:

Alignable’s June Revenue Report has just been released today, based on a poll Alignable completed yesterday among 3,772 small business owners. And most of the findings show many small businesses are a long way from any semblance of a recovery.

  • Despite widespread vaccinations, reopenings, PPP funds, and more, 35% of small business owners are still at risk of closing for good by summer’s end.
  • 42% of entertainers/artists, 40% of retailers, and 39% of restaurants are all in jeopardy.
  • 55% of all SMBs say that they’re still having trouble finding workers, up 5% from last month, and that ongoing labor shortage hinders their recovery.
  • Given the recent surge in inflation, industries including construction (33%) and real estate (31%) are worried about staying afloat this summer, too.
  • 57% say they’ve only achieved half or less of their pre-COVID revenue numbers, which, of course, contributes to their fears of failing this summer. 
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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