Coping With Coronavirus: Small Business Stories

Less Stress Moving

Coping With Coronavirus:Small Business Stories

“‘A small local business is closing EVERY minute in the USA because they are not surviving this crisis.” -Meet the Press

Our small businesses are more than just jobs – they are the backbones of our community. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown have hit small businesses the hardest, and most have less than a month of cash to make it or close.

Without small businesses, we will be left with only online shopping, chain stores & restaurants with deep corporate pockets. Now is the time to pay it forward. If we don’t, we risk losing not only our small businesses, but the dreams of those entrepreneurs, and the lifeblood of our neighborhoods.

Here are some of the stories of small businesses who’ve been affected and how they are coping with Coronavirus.

Less Stress Moving
Less Stress Moving

“We’re a family business. My brother is one of the main people who goes on moves, and I’m worried for him, you know? I don’t want to go and put himself out there, so how incongruent would it be for me to put my employees in that position? I care about my brother but I don’t care about the other guys? That doesn’t make sense. I used to teach math. The sooner that everyone can get the point, the sooner that this thing can get contained.”

– Sarah Mejia’s business, Less Stress Moving, @less.stress.living
Fabric Poetry
Fabric Poetry

“I have 175 unique scarves to sell right now. After paying the 2019 taxes, so there’s not much left in the Fabric Poetry bank account. I would love to use this time to organize the store’s website, but I don’t have the capital to do so. I’m considering volunteer work, to help others as well as myself.”⠀

– Almudena Solana, Fabric Poetry, @fabric_poetry
Together California
Together California

“Things have been quite the whirlwind. In some ways we’re familiar with these hardships from the experience of bootstrapping ourselves for so long, but we’re also feeling overwhelmed as the world is in a general state of panic. Unsure where the other shoe will land, we’re trying very hard to stay positive and keep production of our Earth Day release on schedule after having all of our wholesale orders canceled.”

– Lily Chehrazi-Barrett, Together California, @togethercalifornia
LA County Store
LA County Store

“I already had a website and have had to close my physical location so I’ve been trying to boost online sales. I’m offering free domestic shipping and doing a gift card sale (buy one get one free) but my sales have been impacted precipitously. I’m providing take out orders, and hoping people order from online.”

– MaryAnne LoVerme, LA County Store, @Lacountystore
Yuca’s Tacos
Yuca’s Tacos

“Here at Yuca’s we’ve lost about 60% of revenue since the stay at home order by Mayor Garcetti. We’re thinking of how to help our communities and to that end, we started home deliveries to our neighbors when we head home at the end of the day. We enjoy driving from home to home dropping off Yuca’s goodies, and ensuring our neighbors are well. Our operation is set up for take-out and delivery, so we’re adding Family Kits, and DIY Guacamole Kits. We’re working with our representatives to see how we can assist in serving our senior communities at this time. We offer delivery through third party platforms, but prefer if customers can call in take-out, and do pick ups. We can arrange curbside pickups! Mostly, we’re heeding orders, suggestions, and pleas to help #FlattenTheCurve. We are having the best celebration when this is over!”

– Dora Herrera, Yuca’s Tacos, @yucasla
Kid's Dream
Kid’s Dream

“Our sales are almost completely down since we are a special occasion dress company and all events have been canceled for the foreseeable future. I’m going to the warehouse just with my mom and sister to fulfill whatever orders are in. With medical supplies in dire need, we started making fabric face masks to donate to the medical professionals and front line workers in need. We are also selling them for kids and adults on our website. Mayor Garcetti announced LA Protects to make 5 million masks so I just applied to be a manufacturer for that. I’m hoping this can give jobs back to my manufacturers and production team.” ⠀

– Chewy Jang, Kid’s Dream, @kidsdreamus
FlyBrow
FlyBrow

“I work with my hands. I touch people for a living. Yet, somehow the world is telling me to pivot right now. Think of something new or brilliant that a makeup and brow artist could do to survive this pandemic from home. Truth is, I will survive. As long as I stay healthy, I will be fine. We all will. But I can’t help but spend these endless days and hours thinking of whether I could be of service right now. If there’s a way to offer my skills and services in a way that doesn’t involve being within 6 feet of you while still being authentic. I’m trying, sharing my knowledge of beauty with all of you on insta lives and posts, but that feels like a regular Thursday, just on social media crack. So, I am feeling grateful for the break with no fomo that someone is having more fun than I am. Grateful for the giant pause pressed on all our lives to just BE, reevaluate, watch TV and get to that project that I never have time for. But I also feel the pressure to produce. We have started doing instagram lives – doing brow consultations for potential clients and clients who don’t live near us who would normally not be able to have their brows done by Flybrow.”

– Suzie Moldovan, FlyBrow, @flybrow
Vena Vena Handbags
Vena Vena Handbags

“My business is not going too well. I have some clients that aren’t paying me for products and my website sales are slow. So, I’m sewing bamboo face mask covers for nurses, and trying to collaborate with a local farm to table store to provide canvas bags. I don’t have much money but I do have a lot of faith.”

– Lavena Lewis, Vena Vena Handbag, @venavenahandbag
Sugarbird Sweets
Sugarbird Sweets

“50% of our business comes from selling our scones, teas and other baked goods wholesale to local cafes, restaurants, and hotels. As of last week, we are down to 2 clients with all the restaurant & farmer’s market closures. We shifted our focus to delivering frozen scone doughs direct to consumers in the local LA area and nationwide. For Mother’s Day, we are launching “Afternoon Tea in a Box” filled with mini scones, jam + clotted cream, shortbread and tea sandwiches, parfaits, and Sugarbird Loose Tea to brew your own cup.”

– Kei Okumura, Sugarbird Sweets, @sugarbirdsweets
Know an entrepreneur with a story to share? Send us an email to hello@foundla.org

Sign up for updates from FOUND/LA