Journals

Covid 19 Update

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March 14 was the last day Cowgirl Cash was open for business with doors unlocked. It was a tough day in retail. There were visitors on Spring Break and as happy as I was to see them after a typical long winter in a hidden location on Brooks Alley in downtown Bend, I kept wondering where were they from and was it safe to be near them. Just because you are open in retail, doesn’t mean you make money.  Browsing is a thing, and generally I welcome it.
 
I embraced shelter in place as the best thing to do to keep our community healthy and flatten the curve. There was already talk of financial relief.  On March 30 I applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance. It was sent to me from other friends in business and from the Downtown Bend Business Association. The application said “This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties that does not have to be repaid.” 
 
The application was clear, and user friendly. It asked for my gross sales in the last 12 months, and my cost of goods sold. At the end, it asked for my bank account and routing number.  I pushed submit, and was given a receipt in clear large font that reads:
 
Applicaton Submitted
your application is:
 
3600082041
Three days later on April 3, I received an SBA email that looked like a newsletter. Graphics and details of other programs.  I actually deleted it, because I figured I had already applied. However, I dug it up after my business partner alerted me, and down at the bottom of page two it said, Please note the application process for the EIDL program was updated March 30. For those who submitted a COVID-19 EIDL application prior to March 30 should reapply using the streamlined application.
 
My application was filed March 30 at 1:30pm and was very streamlined so I just sat tight.
 
On April 13, yesterday I received another update. In short, it said "you will be given an advance of $1000 per employee as of January 31,2020.”
 
Well shoot.  I don’t have any employees in January.  Thats a really slow time, so my employee went to The Desert for sun and I run the shop with my partner, no problem. Even if I did get $1000. Is that supposed to cover my downtown rent? My income? My lost sales?
 
As I write this I’ve lost a lot of hope. I’m proud and happy that we have probably flattened the curve in Central Oregon. Under 100 cases, and no deaths.  My goal early on was to get out of this without knowing anyone who dies.  It never crossed my mind that the one death might be my own little business that over the last 10 years has survived groups of homeless youth, massive snow storms with treacherous ice and snow, smokey days that killed prime summer business, summer festivals that take the parking and draw shoppers into temporary booths. My small business can make it until we are allowed to re-open, but what then?  Will the tourists with money in their pockets flock to find me and buy enough to build up my coffers as usual so I can make it to Memorial Day 2021?
 
Thats my story of Disaster Loan Assistance during the time of Covid-19.
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