Despite early help from the federal government in the form of PPP loans and stimulus checks, many small business owners are struggling to survive, and on the brink of permanent closure.
According to data from the reviewing app Yelp, more than 1,900 businesses from West Palm Beach to Miami has permanently closed since March 1.
“It’s sad and scary, said Jill Goodman, owner of Palm Beach Bagel in Boca Raton. “It hurts, because you know it wasn’t an easy choice.”
She said her small business is still hanging on, but sales are down 30%.
To survive, she has had to stay flexible and creative, offering discounts, individually packaged items, and new programs like “Feeding the Frontlines,” which allows customers to purchase food for healthcare workers.
“Everything is just re-inventing yourself and rolling with what you are given,” she said.
Foot traffic in South Florida is down significantly this year compared to last, according to SafeGraph, which looks at cell phone data.
SafeGraph considers South Florida to be one of the regions most impacted by changes in foot traffic patterns.
“This is a long-haul, and the businesses hurt the hardest are tourism, hospitality, and retail,” said Michele Jacobs, President of the Palm Beach County Economic Council.
“In Palm Beach County, one third of the economy is tourism, so we are really feeling it in Palm Beach County, even more than other places,” she said.