After much contemplating, monitoring of the situation, and conversing with multiple other local business owners, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that SHELTER will be closing effective at 4pm today until further notice.
While I’ve been holding out as long as possible to make this decision, I think it is irresponsible for me to continue to be open to the public and ask my team to interact with a large influx of people on a regular basis. I’m hopeful that by taking this small step, we will be doing our part to slow down the spread of this virus and have our community back on its feet as quickly as possible.
I’m sure you’ve consumed far more information than needed about how to support small businesses and what this means for them, but I’m hoping to share some additional information that may help bring more clarity on just how crippling this has the potential to be:
- As I’ve mentioned before, I employ a team of people, some of whom are completely reliant on this source of income. In the short term, I will be going without my own salary to maintain a positive cash flow in our bank account. Once that cash flow runs, things get a lot scarier.
- I pay rent for my retail space, but without generating any income that makes that bill much harder for me and every other business owner to continue to do.
- When I opened my space, I took out a business loan to cover the cost of renovating my space and buying initial inventory. While we have been lucky to be a profitable business from the start, balances on those still remain, and those payments won’t come to a stop.
- We have a large amount of inventory in our shop, and have recently purchased quite a large amount for the spring season. While we have quite a lot of new things in the store (yay!) that means we have a larger than normal dollar amount of inventory that without sales will become crippling quickly.
I share this information not for you to feel sorry for me or other business owners. But candidly, these things are rarely discussed (even in good times), and so I feel strongly that by leading by example with being transparent about my business, I might encourage others to do the same.
So, what can you do to help? I’ve created a list below of steps can you take, starting with the most impactful:
- Continue to buy full-priced merchandise from our website, whenever you can. Again, I know many of the items we sell are trivial, but if you find yourself in a position to make a purchase, I would encourage you to do so
- Purchase a gift card – if you don’t find something you love right now but are a frequent shopper with our store, this is a great way to help. These can be purchase electronically, or else we are happy to mail a physical copy to you.
I’m going to be completely honest and transparent with you all - i’m not entirely sure what this means for the store. At this time, I will be paying out any hours that have been worked, and if need be will get creative with how to pay people moving forward. I’m going to be waiving my salary for the next several weeks to maintain cash in our bank to whether this storm.