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Small Businesses Are Still Adapting To Reopening

Tombolo.jpg
Alsace Walentine/Tombolo Books
Tombolo Books is among many local businesses that is balancing reopening with the safety of its customers and employees.

Seven months after the pandemic forced most businesses across the country to close down, businesses are still adapting to reopening.

As coronavirus was spreading across the world and the U.S. entered lockdown in March, there was lots of uncertainty, especially with how the pandemic would affect business.

At the time, we talked to the owner of a St. Petersburg bookstore and the director of an organization that helps small businesses about what the coming months held for their livelihoods.

RELATED: Coronavirus Forces Small Businesses To Adapt Or Die

Seven months later, host Bradley George is checking back in with Alsace Walentine of Tombolo Books and Eileen Rodriguez of the Florida Small Business Development Center.

Many Tampa Bay's businesses working through the coronavirus pandemic are having to balance public health with dollars and sense.

George also talked to Health News Florida Editor Julio Ochoa, who reported on the challenges facing an Oldsmar hair salon.

Rodriguez said the lack of a foreseeable end to the pandemic continues to complicate things for business owners.

"A lot of the time [the questions we get from business owners], it's simply 'What do I need to do to maintain my business, keep the doors open. A lot of it has to do with cash flow," Rodriguez said. "Cash flow is a major issue for businesses now, particularly because we still don't know the end date of this pandemic is going to be. What we first thought was going to be a one or two month issue, we're now on our seventh month and there's no specific end date in sight."

But Walentine said the upcoming holiday season will likely help increase sales at her bookstore before the year's end.

"We're going into the holiday season, which is the biggest season of course for retail throughout the year. So it's quite critical how we go into these next few months," she said. "In the book industry with the slowdowns in shipping and printing books, we're really concerned about ordering our inventory properly and more of the books we feel confident are going to be the bestsellers during those last few weeks of December."

Listen to the rest of the conversation above.

Dinorah Prevost is the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.
Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by PRNDI, the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.