Small Businesses in Desperate Need of Aid Hope New Bill Yields Fruit

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At Rebirth Body Transformation Center, a personal training studio in Wakefield, Massachusetts, they've moved their classes online, but membership is still dropping.

"Now, we're at a point where each day, we get another cancellation or freeze to the point where I'm afraid to open up my email account," said owner Julian Cardoos.

Revenues are down about 50%, but he's committed to keeping his five trainers employed, and he was counting on a loan from the Small Business Administration.

"It's infuriating," Cardoos said.

He got shut out in the first round of funding, and he's not sure he'll have better luck now that a second package for small businesses has been approved by Congress.

"If this comes through, then that would be great, but after what just happened the past few weeks, I have no faith," he said.

But there were success stories.

"Very clutch," said April Gabriel, who owns the Boston General Store in Dedham and Brookline. "It allows me to keep paying the employees I have now, and it allows me to bring two more back."

Even though she scored a loan, it may not be enough.

"We had to kind of pivot our whole business model to online only," Gabriel said.

Despite a 500% spike in her online sales, business is only at 30% of what it was pre-pandemic.

"It's devastating financially," she said. "But also emotionally. Part of our business is so community-driven, and I haven't seen the community in a month."

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