For many small family businesses in Lakeview, it is only a matter of time before they are forced to close.
“Before the pandemic I had 20 customers a week, but after April the customers started to drop and now it’s more like one or two a week,” said Kwong Lee, owner of the shoe repair shop. Hans in the North Side district, one of the most populous in the city.
Lee, who has been at the same location for 25 years, said he always “made enough money to support my family.” Now he says “it’s a thing of the past.”
“At the rate things are going, I will be bankrupt in a month or two,” he said.
Although he received no grants, his shoe store at 3521 N. Southport Ave. is still open due to a $ 25,000 loan from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program and a $ 10,000 loan from the US Small Business Administration. But without more funding, he will have to close his store.
“Without these loans, I would already be closed. I was using my personal money before I got these loans, but now I’ve used up my savings, ”Lee said. “I applied for another [PPP] ready, but if I don’t get it, I will have to close.
Lee said he was behind on the rent, but his landlord wasn’t pressuring him to catch up on the payments. It recently laid off its only two employees, which means it now has to do twice as much work to stay open.
Lakeview has 173,353 inhabitants, 78% of whom are white; 5% black; 6% Asian; and 9 percent Latino. The median household income is $ 111,623, compared to $ 55,198 citywide.
Business owners who don’t have a good relationship with their owners or can’t tap into their personal savings find it difficult to stay open.
Since the first shutdown order in March, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce has been helping small business owners by letting them know when resources like grants and loans become available, said Becca Girsch, director of business services at the chamber, which has about 400 members. , mainly small businesses.
Ald. Matt Martin, 47th, whose neighborhood includes Lakeview, said many local businesses are struggling, but is hoping more financial help will come with “the new leadership we have in the White House and the US Senate.”
“I don’t want to see any business shut down, but the sad reality is that there will be closures due to this pandemic,” he said.