Business owners tap into savings to withstand pandemic | State

Tom Tunney’s three Ann Sather restaurants are breakfast, brunch and lunch stalwarts in their Chicago neighborhoods. Social distancing requirements have curtailed revenue and the government loan Tunney got was quickly spent paying staff.

Tunney, who’s also an alderman in the Chicago City Council, estimates he’s put $250,000 of his own money into running the restaurants. He dipped into proceeds of real estate sales to replace his lost revenue, and says he’s prepared to continue tapping savings until business returns to normal.

“My community and my business are everything, pretty much my family,” Tunney says.

When the pandemic slammed the tourism industry, attorney Tina Willis had fewer clients at her practice in Orlando, Florida. She specializes in personal injury cases, and many clients are tourists who have accidents while on vacation.

Willis has $5,000 in expenses each month and dipped into her retirement savings to help cover them, something she expects to have to keep doing in the coming months. While Orlando theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are open, attendance is still a fraction of normal levels.

“We expect that the downturn will probably last at least until next spring in our business,” she says.

Willis is also working at cutting costs; she expects to close her office when her lease is up in November.

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