CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Economic Researchers at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance said now is the time to double down on supporting local businesses.
“The bigger guys are going to be OK, the smaller ones need the support right now,” said Chuck McShane, the Senior Vice President of Economic Research for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
He said the area’s big hitters, like financial and professional service sectors, are both faring well.
“We actually saw those increase, finance employment increase in the second quarter,” said McShane.
And ever wonder how COVID-19 might impact all the new office space going up all around the city? McShane says while much is still uncertain, he said confidence is still up.
“We actually saw in the second quarter 22 companies announce they were still deciding to move to the Charlotte area,” he said.
Also doing well, he said, are Charlotte-area manufacturing companies who’ve been able to switch production to PPE products and those who manufacture touchless technology.
“A lot of small companies are still doing paper processes and this pandemic has made them realize that they would like to go more touchless, have more contactless payments and that’s helped a lot of our FinTech related companies generate business this year as well,” said McShane.
But feeling the pain of COVID-19 the most are Charlotte’s small businesses. McShane said about 49- percent of job loss was in leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels, restaurants and gyms.
It’s a pain, Orange Theory fitness owner Jay Thomas is feeling.
“We had, prior to the shutdown, 140 employees,” said Thomas, “We put them on the payroll for 2 weeks after we shut down on March 16 and then we laid them all off except for 5…toughest day of my life, very emotional day,” he said.
For others like Yoga One and the Little Gym of Ballantyne, the pandemic just too much to bear, both said they are closing their doors for good.
Exactly how many businesses have been forced to close still remains to be seen, as McShane said closures are sadly still rolling in.
“Now is the time to double down on local businesses, because they’re the ones who need the most help at this point,” he says, “Get take-out at a local restaurant, support a business that you know is local and may have one or two locations.”