Norfolk small business worried about lack of federal assistance


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all non-essential businesses to close their doors back in March. This week, he extended that closure to last until May 8. That includes places like gyms, hair salons, and many other small businesses.

When Brows and Meows opened in 2017, the owners knew it would be an uphill battle — running a small business is no easy feat — but they didn’t expect a pandemic to force them to close their doors.

Leo Katsareas and Jennah Nu’man opened the threading and waxing salon back in 2017. They were just about to move into a new location when the pandemic hit and they learned they would have to close.

“It’s definitely been very stressful,” said Katsareas.

“So I was like, this is what we’ve gotta do, this is what I gotta do, this is what the government is saying, that’s what this person is saying,” said Nu’man. “So I was already going down a list of things we needed to do.”

They tried to get a loan through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, but the application hasn’t been processed yet, and they’re not sure if they’ll get any federal funding.

“We did exactly what we were advised and we planned around that, but these loans … the Paycheck Protection Program, which would be able to help us continue paying our employees for an extra two months, have not really come about,” said Katsareas.

Katsareas says their priority is making sure their employees get paid, so he’s taken out a personal loan.

“It’s definitely been very stressful because our first and main priority are our employees and putting food on their table so certainly its been very difficult,” he said. “We’re hurting, we’re definitely hurting and it’s definitely been frustrating because it’s not something that we expected to happen at all.”

“Everybody pretty much works on very small financial margins when they’re a smaller business owner,” Nu’man said.

Their goal is to reopen once this is over. They’re trying to stay optimistic, but that’s easier said than done.

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