The coronavirus pandemic is scary enough from the human illness standpoint, but I worry that some businesses may not recover, with or without a government loan.
There were several companies that were on the ropes before this began. Great old names like J.C. Penney and Sears have been closing in more and more stores.
Gene Talmadge, who was governor of Georgia during much of the Great Depression, is often credited with saying that “The poor dirt farmer ain’t got but three friends on this earth: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck and Gene Talmadge”
Well, Gene’s been dead for over 70 years. Sears, once the very picture of a solid American business, is on an economic ventilator.
Brick and mortar stores have been fighting a battle with the internet for several years. Unlike the generations before them, the millenials don’t care about going into stores to shop. They will order clothing and other goods online and if they don’t work, they’ll ship them back.
Some businesses are currently missing out on their busiest season.
Christopher Davidson, who owns a bridal and formal wear store on the Gainesville Square, has numerous prom dresses that have been ordered and not paid for. At the same time, the future of public gathering at events like weddings is not clear. As a result, brides are not buying dresses and all the stuff that goes with them. In addition, Davidson also directs and provides support services for those weddings.
There are other businesses that are dependent on what would be happening right now, such as florists, limo companies and fancy restaurants.
Speaking of restaurants, many are trying to hang on by providing carryout food. But folks who do take-out may not order an appetizer, dessert or beverages. All of those are profit centers for eateries.
The aforementioned farmers are struggling to find a market for their crops. In years past, late blasts of winter or a massive rainstorm has ruined many seasonal crops. This year, farmers had the right ingredients of weather.
Many of them had found new customers in the farm-to-table concept that promotes the idea of fresh produce. This year, restaurants are empty except for someone preparing a to-go order.
A lot of self-employed folks, like hairdressers, have been ordered to close. Because of the independent contractor style of their business, they may not have a relationship with a bank to make a loan to keep them afloat.
The other thing that is so frightening is the prospect of government giving businesses repeated injections of money. We keep talking about billions and billions of dollars. Somewhere, we the people will have to pay that back.
Think of this: a million hours ago was 1885. A billion hours ago, man had not walked on the earth.
The one thing we have in abundance is faith, the belief in things unseen. We have belief in God, who has brought us out of tough times and will do it again. We’ve got a long way to go to get out of the current situation and there will be times when we wonder if we will make it.
I have heard it said that you may believe your doubts, but you should never doubt your beliefs. Remind yourself of that daily.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.