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Viewpoint - May 2020

I Weep for the Independents

By Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search

An article in the New York Times last month predicted that as many as 75% of independent restaurants could close permanently because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Independents outnumber chain restaurants in the U.S. Three-fourths of mom-and-pops never reopening is hard to fathom. If a number remotely close to that is realized, it will compromise millions of livelihoods both direct and supportive.

The SBA PPP program as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance were both tied to number of employees to bias against the true small independents. How insane! Who needed a $10,000 emergency grant more than the small Indies? In many cases it could have helped save them.

In the last few years small independents were thriving, as the mediocre casual dining chains struggled. I fear that momentum has come to a screeching halt. They had become part of the fabric of our communities and frankly, our lives. I drove up a 30 block stretch of Central Avenue in Downtown St. Petersburg last week and was overcome with sadness. I passed countless restaurants, cafes, independent coffee houses, art galleries, boutiques, small unique retail shops on what had become a bustling stretch of town. Most were closed. I so hope, many will reopen.


All the best,

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102

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