coronavirus

Mass. Small Businesses Getting Creative With Ways to Stay Afloat

NBC Universal, Inc.

Main Street America is quiet. Businesses have closed and restaurants have been reduced to takeout and delivery only.

In Holliston, Fiske's General Store is packed with games, crafts and workbooks, but customers are scarce.

"We have a fear that we are coming to an ultimate shutdown, totally," said Fiske's General Store Owner,John Paltrineri. "All small businesses will be shuttered, and that's a scary, scary thing for us."

Fiske's is taking phone orders and offering sidewalk pickup and home delivery to stay afloat. And they are offering a sale on gift cards. Sara Kenney popped in to buy two.

"A lot of businesses are not getting a lot of customers right now, so me and my dad thought it would be good to do while we were out," said Kenney.

Down the street at the Grapevine Gift Store, owner Diane Marrazzo is very nervous.

"In light of all of this, I have done more social media, downloaded Venmo, I am offering free shipping," said Marrazzo. "I will delivery locally. I'll watch your children while you shop. I'll wrap everything and deliver it. Anything, anything to keep it going."

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low interest, long-term economic in jury disaster loans to small business owners who can apply at sba.gov/disaster.

"Our goal with the EIDL program is to bridge the gap for the next 30, 60, 90 days," said SBA Regional Administrator Wendell Davis. "Our hope is even though it's wide, we can swoop in and help as many small businesses as we can, so we can get them to the other side."

Social media has lit up with messages encouraging people to help local businesses facing dramatic drops in income, giving tips that shopping local, grabbing takeout from a favorite restaurant or buying a gift card at any local business can make a difference.

"Every little bit helps," said Davis.

Business owners are hoping for the best and feeling the love.

"I do have a customer who contacted me and she wanted to know who my landlord was and that she would like to pay my rent," said Marrazzo. "After 35 years in the business, it's nice to know that all you have given out to the community in time of need, it comes back."

Small business owners are also advised to reach out to their local banks and community-based organizations for help. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also extending its hours during the week and will open on Saturdays to offer guidance to those who need it.

Contact Us