Small Businesses Work To Reopen, Some Change Business Model

May 5, 2020

Tippecanoe Mall, owned and operated by Simon Property Group, reopened Monday following Gov. Eric Holcomb's "Back On Track" plan.
Credit Emilie Syberg / WBAA

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s five-stage plan to get the state up and running again took its second step Monday with some businesses able to reopen their doors for the first time in more than a month. However, not all businesses are rushing to reopen.

Excluding a few counties around the state, retail and travel are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity for now. Manufacturing and construction are able to fully open, but must practice social distancing.

Barbara Quandt is the Indiana state director with the National Federation of Independent Business. She says in a recent survey more than 80 percent of Hoosier small business owners wanted to reopen by the end of May.

“They’re willing to do whatever they need to do is what we saw in our survey,” says Quandt. “That they weren’t too concerned about the PPE that they would need; that they would be able to do what it takes to start again.”

Quandt applauds the governor’s plan saying the closure or limited operations has been brutal on small businesses.

READ MORE: Governor Holcomb Outlines How – And Why – The State Will Reopen

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La Scala restaurant sits closed on Main Street in Lafayette after owners Kirsten Serrano and her husband made the decision to shut down during the pandemic.

Holcomb’s plan allows restaurants to start letting customers in – with limited capacity – as early as May 11.

Serrano says she’s not reopening the dining room. Instead she shifted her business model to a subscription home delivery service for the local community over the next few weeks and months.

“It’s much harder I believe for a restaurant to go through stops and starts and stops and starts. So, I would like to not do that,” says Serrano. “And this is a model that should be able to keep us open if we get enough support for it regardless of quarantine.”

Serrano says she hopes to deliver her first “Good to Go” meal kits later this week.

The National Restaurant and Lodging Association estimates Hoosier restaurants lost nearly $1 billion in April.

Holcomb’s plan is to have all businesses fully open by July 4.

Contact Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.