Shella Joiner has spent the last five years of her life investing into a business she fears has gone up in smoke, thanks to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) scare.
Sharkey and Mella's signed a lease a year ago for the building at the corner of Fourth and El Camino to relocate her décor and party rental business a block away. Concerns about corona virus and new government orders are causing her customers to cancel events she was planning to service with party rentals and decorations.
“I’m packing in case I have to move out,” said Shella Friday afternoon. “Every event that was coming for the next six months has cancelled. Six months of work for me is an entire year’s pay.”
She said checks which customers wrote for prom season are bouncing and she can’t pay her entire rent amount.
“This is where my business was supposed to get great where I was going to kick off my first year and finally be profitable.”
Joiner said most unsettling is no one knows how long the scare will affect Americans’ habits.
“This is detrimental,” said Joiner, in tears in a phone interview with the Courier. “Losing these events is detrimental to me, no matter what. Even if this all gets fixed in a week I’m screwed for the year – unless all of a sudden everyone wants to book a wedding. I’m talking weddings I had in three weeks. I’m talking weddings I had in June. So nobody’s going to come to a coordinator or party rental place and say, ‘I need 300 plates for next weekend.’ Or, ‘I need someone to plan my wedding for me that’s in three weeks.’ ”
Little of her income comes from the crafts she offers in store.
She’s also concerned about the hording of food and toiletry supplies occurring.
“I know there’s a lot of small businesses that are fearful right now.”
Her story is not unique as the fears about the spread of corona virus have dominated the week, which included President Trump’s Friday declaration of a national emergency.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is working directly with governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits to help them weather the storm. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.