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Business owners uncertain of future as derecho damage lingers

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:59 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - With colder weather arriving, the owners of two neighboring small businesses in Cedar Rapids said their future is uncertain.

That’s because damage from the derecho is exposing their shops to the elements, hurting their already struggling business base because of the pandemic.

“It’s so uncertain right not to know how much longer we can go, because it’s little by little, we feel it’s difficult each day to keep going,” Teresa Dove, owner of Professional Image Enhancement, said.

For nearly 30 years, Dove has run the skincare clinic off Collins Road. It was passed down from her mother-in-law and she also co-owns Meric’s Tailoring with her daughter, just one suite down the hall, but that could all soon change.

“Our walls are pretty much paper-thin, we have no insulation above us, and we have no insulation on this side,” Katherine Dove Schon, Teresa’s daughter said.

The August 10 derecho caused extensive damage to a trio of buildings run by Affinity Property Management, including the one that houses both Professional Image Enhancement and Merci’s Tailoring. The damage, they said, is now hurting, even detouring people from their small businesses.

“And even as people are driving by, even our existing customers are driving by asking, 'wow we saw your building, where you are now, are you still open, are you open right now,” Dove Schon said.

The pair said they understand the aftermath of the storm is hard on many, but they say they’re living in limbo, waiting on guidance from their landlord.

“Trying to get some sort of clarity so we can make our own decisions as business owners as to what we should do next. If we were going to be allowed to stay, are they going to tear down the buildings and if we need to find another place to go,” Dove Schon said.

Teresa worried moving may not be an option.

“I don’t have the money to move, to be able to move out we have to have the income. With Covid and derecho both, we are short on income,” Dove said.

Dove said due to the pandemic the tailoring business is down, with school dances canceled and fewer people going into offices. She’s worried about paying for increased energy bills, as trying to keep the shop heated is costly in an exposed building. She’s hoping for not only more support from her landlord, but for other small businesses struggling.

“I need guidance from the government, to assist us, to defend us, to find out how distressed because we are the core of the economy,” Dove said.

KCRG-TV9 reached out to the property management company, which said the person who could comment on this situation was not available.

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