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.
"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.