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Nonprofit hopes to help small business owners in time of uncertainty

Nonprofit hopes to help small business owners in time of uncertainty
Nonprofit hopes to help small business owners in time of uncertainty(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 21, 2020 at 9:04 PM CDT
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Business owners are having to get creative in order to keep up with the spread of the coronavirus shutting down or slowing businesses.

“On a normal Saturday this place is hopping,” said the owner of Main Street Exchange Tracy West. “We had trouble keeping up, but today we’ve only had 10-12 people coming through the doors.”

West isn’t the only one struggling; number businesses fronts in downtown Cedar Falls have signs saying they are temporarily closed, closed for good or changing hours and daily operation.

“The girls that normally work here are obviously laid off right now,” she said. “I don’t have to pay myself, so anything that comes in is going towards utilities, rent or whatever bills I have to pay.”

“Because of the economic situation the owner of the storefront where I do business is closing for good and we will have to find a new place to continue operations,” said Founder of Iowa Love William Heathershaw.

Iowa Love, which sells merchandise to help small businesses and other nonprofits thrive, is trying to do its part to help despite the adversity. Heathershaw is setting up his website so businesses that are currently closed or struggling can still make money through electronic gift cards.

“It’s really important for us to support our favorite local retailers today so that they can remain a part of your community tomorrow,” he said.

So far, about 20 businesses have made E-gift cards on the site in a number of different cities in Eastern Iowa. That includes West who is hoping all of the downtown businesses can weather storm in this time of uncertainty.

“I’ve seen similar things happen in Florida and different places where the whole town is wiped out by a tornado or hurricane and sometimes the businesses just don’t come back,” she said.