With the continuation of stay-at-home orders across the country, and the uncertain timeline of possibly being approved for support from the Small Business Administration or the Payroll Protection Program, small businesses nationwide are rapidly approaching a point of no return.
While Pennsylvania Legislators are discussing what partially reopening businesses could look like with social distancing in place, the reality is that with each passing day small businesses are having to make the hard decision to never open their doors again because of the economic fallout.
To combat this, a group of businesses in Doylestown have banded together to generate their own way of staving off extinction, by creating a “Virtual” Small Business Saturday, scheduled for April 25.
More than 20 shops, boutiques and stores have listed how customers can still shop and support them, whether it be through online sales, safe distance curbside pickups, gift cards, or other options. A full list of participating stores is available on the Discover Doylestown website, at discoverdoylestown.org/.
Some analysts have predicted that the disruption to businesses from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders could lead to 15,000 permanent retail store closures in 2020, with the Economic Policy Institute predicting that the disease outbreak could potentially wipe out 3 million jobs from the U.S. economy before the summer.
These concerns are certainly setting in for small business owners across the country, as a recent Goldman Sachs survey of 1,500-plus small business owners found that more than 50% said they didn’t think they could continue operating their businesses for more than three months amid the current conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The concept of taking Small Business Saturday virtual was derived by Derrick Morgan, co-owner of The Monkey’s Uncle in Doylestown, which specializes in retro-inspired sports apparel and is hoping to celebrate its 10-year anniversary this June.
“While some businesses are still operating at a substantially reduced capacity, our hope is to generate enough support for these shops that they can have confidence they’ll be able to survive the duration of stay-at-home orders,” said Morgan. “Our favorite businesses need support now more than ever, and I just hope that by creating this awareness it will spark enough love from the locals that we avoid seeing any more businesses close permanently.”
Small Business Saturday is typically held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year, and was started in partnership with American Express in 2010. The impact on local economies has been extremely positive. The businesses in Doylestown hope creating their own Virtual Small Business Saturday in April will allow them to still be open when the calendar reaches November.