MALIBU—Small businesses that are considered ‘non-essential’ are bearing the brunt of the economic loss due to the lockdown. Walk-ins make up the majority of their customers and being forcefully shutdown means no income for the foreseeable future.
Barbara Bruderlin, the CEO of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, while talking to The Malibu Times, said that small business owners were hopeful the (PPP) Paycheck Protection Program would help see them through till the 15 of May, 2020, the day the lockdown ends.
Kecia Heinz, owns the Kecia Heinz Studio, a hair salon in 24955 PCH building. She opened her business in January and was eager for it to take off, but then the Corona pandemic hit. Her landlord hasn’t offered a break on her rent yet, “I think I’ll have to borrow money” she says.
Kecia moved to Malibu from Napa valley, the lockdown has means her salon has to remain closed, so she has been offering her services to friends and family from home, hoping that will be enough to tide her over. “I love the studio and I really love Malibu – the sense of community and the customers taking a personal interest in me. My biggest fear in coming here was the wildfires, this was something I never anticipated.”
Levon Akopyan had to shut down his shoe repair shop because it was not an essential business. “You’d think shoes are a part of life because people wear shoes; they don’t go barefoot. It doesn’t make sense to me, how is it that marijuana dispensaries are essential but shoes aren’t?! It drives me crazy!” Akopyan told The Malibu Times.
He applied for PPP and unemployment but hasn’t seen any money yet.
Shane Semler is the owner of a small business, Malibu Wine Hikes, which he started in 2016. He assumed the closures would not affect his outdoor business but was told his business was non-essential, all local public hiking trails and parks were also shut down.
There are two full-timers and 10 part-timers under his employ that he might not be able to keep for long.
Semler has applied for PPP as well and hopes to see some money soon. In the meantime, he has contacted all his pre-paying customers, and to his relief, most of them have opted to postpone their hike until the business opens again rather than demand a refund.