Just like almost everywhere else across America, the Loris business community is feeling the economic hurt caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Some businesses are trying find ways to adapt to the situation while others have reduced hours or are having employees work from home.
The Loris Chamber of Commerce has been looking for ways to try to help the businesses. Chamber President John Sediak said some Loris restaurants are fairing a little better than others -- at least for now.
Sediak is the owner of The Grind restaurant and said his business did pretty good last week after the no-dine-in law took effect but he is concerned things will get worse if the self-distancing rules do not end soon.
On Sunday, President Donald Trump ordered the self-distancing rules to remain in place through April 30.
“Everybody is on edge in town. We (The Grind) have the advantage of having a drive-through which opened up some availability for us to continue serving,” Sediak said. “I think this week is really going to be a test because I think there was an initial thought that maybe it will be gone sooner than later and I think the reality that it could be a couple of months of slog for everybody is starting to set in.”
Sediak said most of the restaurants and other businesses are trying to stay open as long as possible but as time goes on people may have less money to spend to help keep the businesses afloat.
“For the first couple of weeks this was going on I had tremendous support from the community coming out to help our restaurant and other businesses. What concerns me going forward, because this has taken a bite out of everybody, it becomes more and more difficult for the people who had that mentality to continue to do that,” he said.
Sediak said most of the business owners he has spoken to in recent days told him they are trying to stay open as long as possible to help the community and to keep their employees working.
“It is my understanding most of the businesses are trying to stay open. That may have meant limited access to the inside or it may have meant working remotely from home or reduced staff,” he said. “It is a matter of how long you can sustain it.”
Sediak said he spent time over the weekend, in his role as Chamber president, communicating with the Chamber board of directors trying to get feedback on what the organization can be doing to try to help the business community.
“At first what we did was try to promote sales that businesses were having on our social media and website,” he said. “Now what we need to be doing is sharing important information with our members.”
He said the plan is to find out from chamber members what their challenges are and what the chamber can do to help coordinate any response needed from Loris City Council or other chamber members.
He said the chamber will also be providing business owners with information needed about the federal small business relief measures that were passed last week.
“We will let them know how they can apply and what local businesses they can apply through and what help they can get,” Sediak said. “It might just be a band-aid over a wound but any help right now these small businesses can get is going to make a big difference.”
Adapting to the Changes
Sediak said some businesses owners are rethinking the way they do things -- or changing some of the things they sell.
As an example, he said Kenya Wright, owner of the new ‘Cotton Pickin Cute’ store has been promoting craft items her store sells that are aimed at children. It is things they can do from home since they cannot go to school.
She is also holding live-streaming paint classes periodically.
Sediak said he is urging everyone to shop local. He said he has heard some people are making once-a-week trips to Myrtle Beach to buy everything they need.
“As much as possible, please try to support the local businesses in our community. They are the lifeblood of our town,” Sediak said.