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As some businesses closes, other in the FM area remain afloat for now

It’s been trying times for local small businesses
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Small businesses are considered the backbone of America, but over the last few weeks, several have closed in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Others have been beaten and battered, using some COVID-19 related aid to keep themselves afloat.

Curvy Divas has managed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic by getting creative in reaching shoppers, such as using social media.

“People find it a little bit more inviting to be back to a little bit of normalcy of shopping,” Candida Maye, assistant store manager of Curvy Divas, said.

The store did receive some federal help, but navigating the rough economic waters has been trying.

“Everybody is struggling right now with the pandemic going on, so it’s like hit or miss if we get our stock or not,” Maye said.

Replay Games located in downtown Fargo has found a path forward.

“Running a small business, the stress of COVID and stuff is really the least of our worries,” CJ Schnase, owner of Replay Games, said. “We took advantage of some of the government programs to help us get through it all.”

According to the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, consumer confidence is the key to getting the local economy rolling again.

“You can do all these grants, all these loans, and that’s great to help businesses get through. But if we are not getting consumers back into the marketplace, our economy is not going to continue bouncing back,” Katie Mastel said. She’s the government affairs and advocacy manager at the chamber.

This week KFC along 25th St S joined a list of area businesses, such as Blvd Pub and Tru Blue, that have fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak.

The North Dakota Small Business Development Centers is a resource for area businesses in providing guidance but not grants.

“Our advisors are certified professionals and they help with turnaround work on a regular basis,” Marine Schuschke, the assistant state director of operations for the organization, said. “Outside of this pandemic, they were doing that before.”

According to NDSBDC, it’s not just restaurants and bars that are struggling. The pandemic has touched every sector.

“There is a lot of optimism in that we are understanding more and more everyday of covid and the impacts of that,” Greg Syrup of NDSBDC said.

The optimism is partly due to scientists getting closer to making a COVID-19 vaccine come to fruition in the near future.

A grant by the North Dakota Department of Commerce received nearly $80 million worth of request from small businesses for a pie of only $65 million.

The deadline to apply expired nearly two weeks ago, but there’s discussion for a round two. A date has not been set yet.

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