Local small businesses shutting down for good amid pandemic

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Uncertainty and inconsistency: two things Greensboro leaders say are driving small businesses to shut down.

At 8 p.m. on Sunday, the doors at Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company will close for the last time.

The owner, Mark Gibb, dreamed of opening a brewery. It was his passion project.

“We really tried to make a nice, inviting, warm space,” he said.

For six years, he built a community at Gibb’s on State Street.

“I think from the reaction, it seems like we really succeeded with that. So we’re happy,” Gibb said.

That success slipped away, when COVID-19 closed Gibb’s doors in March.

During the tough times, Guilford County was able to extend some funding.

“It very much helped us going for three months,” Gibb said. “We would not have been able to keep going.

But it just wasn’t enough to sustain the business.

“We had to make the deciison where we just couldn’t keep going anymore,” Gibb said.

The coronavirus pandemic had done too much damage.

“We were completely shut down for two months,” Gibb said. “Once we were able to reopen again, folks are understandably scared to come out. Our revenue never exceeded 30 percent of what it was prior to COVID.”

He’s now selling some brewing equipment, hoping it helps pay some bills.

Further down State Street, Ann Hardee also had a difficult decision to make.

“It was devastating,” she said.

Her yoga studio now sits empty. Since July, she’s been teaching her classes from the driveway of her home.

“I can’t continue to stay here without paying rent,” Hardee said. “And I can’t pay rent if I don’t have any income. But there’s no rent in my driveway.”

Brent Christensen with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce told FOX8, the hospitality, travel and leisure industries have suffered the most during the pandemic.

The initial funding that was helping them survive is running out.

“There’s likely a need for additional assistance for businesses moving forward,” he said.

Some of these businesses are still not open. Those that are, aren’t seeing enough traffic to keep them afloat.

Christensen said people just aren’t spending money right now.

“When there are times of uncertainty and inconsistency, people will tend to hold on to what they’ve got and hold it close,” he said. “We need to be thinking about how we can utilize our local businesses here, to make sure when all of this is over and we all look back, [these businesses] are still around. They’re still feeding us and they’re still helping us work out.”

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