Local survey paints bleak picture for small businesses

Local survey paints bleak picture for small businesses
Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 18:44:10-04

The longer this pandemic grips the world, the harder it will be for small businesses to survive.

There’s an economic survey out of COVID19’s impact on the Coastal Bend, and it’s not encouraging.

You could never tell by looking at how busy it is at Panjo’s Pizza, that at least 40% of local businesses closed two weeks ago.

But, Stephen Glen, the general manager, couldn’t be happier about his business.

"We're fine," Glen said. "Just look at the line."

These are the results of an economic impact survey, done in March, by the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation in conjunction with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The results are based on nearly 400 survey returns from nearly 900 business owners, people in retail, construction, food services, among a few who received them.

Dr. Jim Lee, the school’s chief economist, paints this picture, based on the survey results.

"Just two weeks ago we had close to 40% of businesses were being closed down," Lee said. "And that number is supposed to be higher right now."

Financing is the greatest concern, according to the survey.

Not only did 40 percent of businesses close, the survey shows they experienced 40 percent revenue loss and 18 percent had employee layoffs.

But 68 percent said they were still at full staff - as of two weeks ago.

I spoke with two contractors about the economic impact. One said business was down about 60% a couple of weeks ago, but he put some money away in anticipation of this.

Lee says at some point, national, state, and local leaders have to decide between public health or revenue from sales tax because small businesses in particular can’t survive much longer.

"The survey makes it very clear that actually more than half the businesses will close down for good if they continue to stop their income stream in six weeks," Lee said.

He also said results of another survey will be out within days.