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Nevada's Mom-and-Pops Struggle with COVID-19 Recovery

Fifty-two percent of business owners say they have taken on new debt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 21% racking up more than $100,000 in fresh debt, according to data from Small Businesses for America's Future. (hbswk.hbs.edu)
Fifty-two percent of business owners say they have taken on new debt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 21% racking up more than $100,000 in fresh debt, according to data from Small Businesses for America's Future. (hbswk.hbs.edu)
June 18, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- Small businesses employ half of all U.S. workers, but the number of independent, family-owned businesses in Nevada is down 19% compared with January of this year, according to the group Small Businesses for America's Future.

The coalition of small businesses and leaders says that's mostly because of shutdowns during COVID-19.

Shaundell Newsome, the coalition's co-chair, says that's an alarming number because those mom-and-pop stores also report their traffic is down 50% to 60%.

He adds that black and minority businesses have been hit the worst.

"Right now, in the 3.3 million small businesses that have closed for good, 40% of African-American-owned businesses and 32% of the Latino businesses have closed. That's 72% combined, have closed," he points out.

In Las Vegas alone, the number of small businesses open was down 18% last week compared with January.

Newsome says now is the time for Washington to step up and provide small businesses with targeted recovery relief, including greater access to funds for minority-owned businesses.

Newsome notes that many small businesses did not receive any of the $511 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus loans from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, and if they did, they received it far later than big businesses did.

Since the allocations were made, the Trump administration announced it won't reveal recipients of the money.

Newsome maintains that's because so few small businesses benefited.

"Small-business owners are the ones that hire people -- quicker, faster and more often -- so why are you being secretive about who got the money?" he questions. "Because you know that the mom-and-pops did not get the money."

According to the JP Morgan Institute, most small businesses have less than 30 days of operating cash saved, and Newsome says that means they will not be able to weather a long-term drop in revenue without more help from the federal government.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV