‘It has been a drastic change’ North Alabama small businesses see range of coronavirus impacts

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.3 percent of small businesses in Alabama are experiencing a "moderate negative effect" due to the pandemic. That's 5.5 percent higher than the national average.

Posted: Sep 9, 2020 9:49 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2020 11:06 PM

When it comes to asking small businesses across the country 'How are you doing?' the answer can vary pretty notably, especially depending on where they are and which industry they are in.

For Girl Code co-owner Kyla McLeod, it has been a difficult summer.

One of the co-owners of Girl Code in Huntsville checks the iPad register. One of the co-owners of Girl Code in Huntsville checks the iPad register.

"It has been a drastic change, I can say, financially," McLeod said.

Starting in late April, the U.S. Census Bureau started compiling impact reports from small businesses around the county in its Small Business Pulse Survey. The initial data set ran from April 26 through June 27. Phase Two starts on August 9.

For an overall benchmark, the bureau reports a national average of 32.7 percent of businesses that saw a "large negative effect" from the pandemic during the most current week of reporting, August 23-29. Comparatively, 43.8 percent of businesses said they saw a "moderate negative effect."

Alabama is 9.9 percent lower when it comes to small businesses that saw a "large negative effect" and reported only 22.8 percent fit that description. 49.3 percent of Alabama small businesses said they had a "moderate negative effect."

Compared to all national businesses, the Retail Trade did slightly better. Across the country, 27 percent said they saw a "large negative effect" during the most recent week of data and 40.5 percent saw a "moderate negative effect."

McLeod co-owns Girl Code in Huntsville with two other women and they have only been open for a little more than a year. She said they had to start making some businesses shifts to keep things afloat.

"We just had to cut back on like the purchases of merchandise. So instead of purchasing that thousand-dollar order, you would purchase maybe half of that order. Or try to go as little as possible, just to try to stay afloat," McLeod said.

The retail industry also faired better than the national average. 26.9 percent of real estate firms nationally had a “large negative effect” and 42.4 percent saw a “moderate negative effect” from the pandemic.

Other industries are seeing a much more drastic impact from the virus. 68.2 percent of Accommodation and Food Services reported a “large negative effect” from the virus. Similarly, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation businesses said 61.4 percent of them saw a “large negative effect.”

In order to keep many small businesses above water, financial lifelines like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster (EID) loans were requested by 74.3 percent and 26.6 percent of businesses nationally. 72.7 percent and 22.5 percent of businesses received PPP and EID loans respectively.

Meanwhile, 84.9 percent of Alabama small businesses requested a PPP loan and 24 percent requested an EID loan. However, McLeod said unfortunately for her, she didn’t qualify for either.

Only 18.9 percent of all businesses nationwide and 11.7 percent of Alabama businesses didn’t request some type of financial assistance.

Since April, Alabama has seen a downward trend of businesses that reported a "large negative effect" from the pandemic. It started at 40.6 percent and now sits at 22.8 percent. 

Groups like the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce are encouraging people to buy and eat at local places to help further sustain the small businesses.

McLeod said that this period is offering business owners the time to reflect and take stock on how to improve their business models in case something like this ever happens again.

“I think that going through this pandemic, it kind of slowed everybody down and it kind of made everybody look into their own businesses for what it is. So you're kind of learning like the pros and cons and the do's and the don't's,” McLeod said.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19441349
Mobile13271291
Montgomery8778179
Madison775480
Tuscaloosa7496119
Shelby584951
Lee582961
Baldwin516550
Marshall390944
Calhoun346641
Etowah342047
Morgan325428
Houston278123
Elmore263247
DeKalb239120
Walker228483
St. Clair227837
Talladega212728
Limestone206120
Cullman188519
Dallas177426
Franklin175529
Russell17442
Autauga173825
Lauderdale168233
Colbert163626
Blount159415
Escambia158425
Jackson154611
Chilton153531
Dale135444
Covington134427
Coffee13078
Pike11879
Chambers115142
Tallapoosa114685
Clarke107717
Marion95729
Butler91339
Barbour8577
Winston73712
Marengo70820
Lowndes65327
Pickens65114
Bibb64210
Randolph63713
Hale62828
Lawrence60922
Geneva5995
Bullock59814
Cherokee59115
Monroe5818
Clay5707
Washington55613
Perry5407
Conecuh53111
Crenshaw53132
Wilcox53111
Henry4865
Macon48020
Fayette4438
Sumter43419
Lamar3632
Choctaw34612
Cleburne3396
Greene30315
Coosa1673
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 187690

Reported Deaths: 2312
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30460452
Davidson26252298
Hamilton928791
Knox918175
Rutherford915088
Williamson516536
Sumner475896
Wilson341844
Putnam320139
Montgomery302244
Out of TN296825
Unassigned29145
Bradley289317
Madison280061
Sevier257015
Blount247723
Maury230923
Washington223935
Robertson219035
Sullivan212133
Hamblen188525
Tipton178118
Trousdale16517
Gibson160922
Hardeman154826
Wayne14905
Bedford132017
Dyer131813
Dickson123515
Cumberland117518
Fayette117418
Coffee116613
Weakley115719
Anderson115312
Henderson115322
Carter114728
Obion11389
Loudon11356
Greene112943
McMinn110025
Jefferson109714
Macon103520
Warren10267
Monroe102217
Lawrence101211
Hardin100516
Lauderdale95915
Haywood95418
Franklin9518
Lake9142
Roane8724
Carroll85819
Bledsoe8494
McNairy84218
White8139
Cheatham80610
Rhea79812
Hawkins78316
Cocke7419
Marshall7415
Overton7135
Smith69810
Johnson6752
Henry6139
Chester60910
Lincoln6031
Giles58017
Hickman5585
DeKalb55213
Crockett52919
Marion5187
Decatur5037
Fentress4713
Claiborne4405
Campbell4314
Polk38210
Grainger3633
Union3471
Benton3349
Jackson3175
Morgan3113
Unicoi2831
Cannon2800
Grundy2685
Humphreys2443
Sequatchie2293
Meigs2233
Clay2205
Houston2083
Scott2072
Stewart1902
Lewis1851
Moore1641
Van Buren1600
Perry1490
Pickett1102
Hancock1063

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