Utah small businesses implore landlords for help as COVID-19 devastates their livelihoods

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Yong Itto, owner of Itto Sushi in Midvale, prepares sushi for a to-go order on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Small businesses are struggling with a loss of business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are not allowed to dine in at restaurants.

Yong Itto, owner of Itto Sushi in Midvale, prepares sushi for a to-go order on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Small businesses are struggling with a loss of business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are not allowed to dine in at restaurants. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

MIDVALE — Small-business owners on the brink of financial ruin as a side effect of the coronavirus outbreak are imploring landlords for help as revenues dry up and hope for the future fades.

Standing in his shop Wednesday, Doug Jardine, co-owner of Color of Nails Salon in Midvale, said just a couple of weeks ago, his establishment employed 10 to 12 technicians and would serve customers throughout the day all week long. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated his business, with barely enough work for two technicians on this weekday.

Speaking into a camera to a Facebook Live audience and some members of the media on-hand in the salon, Jardine said his business and others in the Midvale strip mall are in financial peril and may not be able to make rent on their spaces without help from the property owner.

“This is about the survival of small business in Utah and across the nation,” he said. “We’re empty. In the last two weeks, our business is down at least 85% and business is going to be down 100%. The scenario is playing out in hundreds of thousands of small businesses in Utah and nationwide.”

As of this weekend, he said the salon will not charge its nail technicians any rent for the booth spaces they occupy “because it’s the right thing to do.” He added that some other business owners are also “taking the hit” and helping their own employees for the same reason.

“And so at this time, a question needs to be asked of the landlords across Utah and across our nation. Landlords, as small businesses trying to help our employees and outlast this incredible pandemic, what can you do for us and how will you help us?” he queried rhetorically.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Leila Sabat, manager at Specialty Market in Midvale, stocks goods at the store on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Small businesses are struggling with a loss of business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With revenues down so significantly, Jardine and others are calling on landlords to offer a financial lifeline by allowing some concessions on monthly lease payments during the COVID-19 crisis. He said without some help, his business and others like it will be unable to sustain themselves through the uncertainty of the outbreak and public isolation orders.

“Our monthly lease for this salon is $5,000, plus electrical and all the other fees that go along with it,” Jardine explained. “Our business is down 80% to 90% and the landlord is calling for the rent to be paid in full by the fifth of next month. We simply cannot do it.”

Steve Vincent, owner of Treasure Island Tanning in the same retail center, said the guidance to stay …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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