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Small businesses feel financial hit, criticism as COVID-19 pandemic continues


Small businesses everywhere have felt the effects of COVID-19, as many were forced to close their doors or adjust to new regulations in place to control the pandemic. 

Dinner’s Ready For You, a Moberly catering business, closed its storefront from the public and catering events have been canceled.

“People have had to cancel all the catering that we have scheduled because it's a group of 10 or more,” co-owner Jamie Perry said. “So that definitely has come to a complete stop.”

Dinner’s Ready For You is still working to provide ready-to-eat meals for the public with drive-thru and curbside pick-up options open. 

The business has seen negative posts on Facebook about restaurants being considered essential businesses that are allowed to be open during this time. 

“They feel like that's contributing to the problem and that's kind of frustrating,” Perry said. “There's a lot of people that could benefit from our take-home meals. We're doing it curbside and people have to have food, it’s this versus going to Walmart with all the people that are there.”

Randolph County issued a stay-at-home order last week that prohibits residents from going out except for essential services such as groceries and medical care. Restaurants are included in businesses considered essential and allowed to stay open. However, they're required to close their dine-in sections and only serve via delivery, pickup or drive-thru.

Dinner’s Ready For You just opened a storefront on March 9. Now Perry and co-owner Brook Hill are working to continue providing meals for the community and keep the business going. 

“We really rely on our day-to-day income,” Perry said. “As far as keeping all the bills paid and being able to pay our people and being able to pay ourselves. That is a big part of being a small business, we don't have anything else to really rely on. So that's definitely been a big hit.”

Perry and Hill have had to take on the business’s responsibilities alone because of the pandemic. 

“We've also cut all of our staff down to just work,” Perry said. “Because they're young kids, and some of the parents didn’t want them working and also because of how much we've cut back on business. We've had to kind of make those cuts, it’s a scary situation.”

Despite the challenges Dinner’s Ready For You has faced due to this pandemic, the owners say they are proud they can continue providing food to the community. 

“The fact that we do offer a service that everybody can benefit from that really keeps us going,” Perry said. “As well as the people that have begged us to stay open, our regular customers keep us motivated and tell us to hang in there and do not quit. That's really keeping us going as well.”

Boone County also issued a stay-at-home order March 24, to halt the spread of the pandemic. 

 The Southern Rose is a small boutique and gift shop in Columbia that is not concerned essential.

Owner Mackenize Knierim said she personally chose to close The Southern Rose doors before the stay-at-home order was put into effect, but she has been able to continue providing her customers access to their products through their website. 

"Since then we've had to really pivot and how we operate things," said Knierim. "Usually there's at least three of us here, for right now we're operating with just two employees, not only because of the expensive payroll but also just to eliminate how many people are coming in and out of the business and touching orders."

The Southern Rose had a website previously up and running, but it has now become her main source of business.

Knierim said since they are not considered an essential business they are essentially a business working through a website rather than at the storefront.

“It’s forced us to look at business in a different way," said Knierim. "We were so fortunate that when we have our stores open we have tons of foot traffic people coming in making these orders and so now we're having to figure out ways to reach them and service them and help them from afar.”

Knierim said this process has changed a lot for her business but it will make the southern rose stronger and hopes to reopen soon.

Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce said that this is an adjustment and everyone is trying to figure out all the aspects of it.

The Chamber of Commerce has been working with small businesses to see what type of relief programs are available.

Stay up-to-date on this developing story here and on ABC 17 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Business / Health / Mid-Missouri Business / Missouri / Moberly / News / Randolph / Top Stories
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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


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