In truth, I never left - but it was a wonderful feeling to put that OPEN flag out this week and welcome shoppers back inside the store. How've you been? This has been a Time. A super strange, incredibly stressful time; and we're really not out of the woods just yet, are we? Catching up with some of you this week has been happy, but wow - you've had some hard months too. Homeschooling was rough, some of you have been sick, you've lost hours or been furloughed, and tragically lost friends and family members. I'm always here to listen...and I don't pretend to have the right words for these heartaches, just distanced hugs and lots of love coming your way. <3 Sanitized fingers crossed we are through the worst of this.
I wanted to update you on how the shop fared during this shutdown, since so many of you were kind enough to read and reach out following my earlier rant. Folks, as a business owner this was tough, but, that earlier anger was is a great motivator for me. I'll give you the highlights, and we did comparatively well (thanks entirely to this community).
Here's what happened these three months.
BORDENTOWN STRONG - Rebecca Collins (Carson's Re-Creations) and Sruti Desai were not having my gloom and doom for one minute. They kept me too busy to wallow in the panic that followed closing these doors, by taking an idea Rebecca had and running with it....to rally the community around our closed businesses. Together, we launched a collection of locally made products for #BORDENTOWNSTRONG and you embraced it. From your purchases and contributions, we donated over $6,000 to Bordentown business owners and their out of work employees. The project is now evolving into promotion of local businesses as we reopen and recover. Follow the progress on Facebook and Instagram -- > @bordentownstrong
PPP / CARES / SBA / EDA - lots of letters that were intended to help us survive, but in reality I wouldn't have if I relied on them. These applications would make you weep and upon finishing (and possibly putting your home up as collateral), you can find out there was nothing there for you. This has been covered in the media, so you probably already know that the initial rounds of funding didn't make it to many small businesses like mine. No EIDL emergency grant from the SBA, no NJEDA money which was fully allocated within thirty minutes of the application opening. I qualified for just one month's rent worth of PPP because of the way my business is structured, and it seems like every week the rules for getting that money forgiven or repaid change. I know the intention was good - and I know people who worked hard on getting this money disbursed and did their best. You can only work with what you've been given, it just wasn't enough to help every truly small or micro businesses. I sincerely hope the big guys use their share wisely ;) and take care of their employees as intended.
BORDENTOWN CITY + RWJF + PACF - swooped in to legit save the day. If you live here you know this town is amazing in so many ways. We are a single square mile with around 4,000 residents. A small town. You know what this small town did? The commissioners and administration found a way to take a tax surplus and make their OWN grant for our local businesses. A resident, Michelle Larkin, Associate Executive VP at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation connected the city with the Princeton Area Community Foundation who gave additional funds to be distributed via the grant. We received just over $5,000 which paid rent, utilities and operating expenses for June and July and provided the breathing room needed to make financial recovery possible.
And here we are! The masks are on, the doors are open - and I am more fired up than ever to make sure we do more than survive. We're going to keep making our main street better together. Through the shop and #BORDENTOWNSTRONG, I'll be working hard to repay the kindness we've received from this small (but mighty) community.