Small businesses see sales rise as vaccination rates rise

TAMPA, Florida – As we continue to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida small business owners say they see the light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccination rates rising daily, experts said more families are choosing to venture out and spend money on services.

Jordan Levine refused to let the pandemic prevent him from opening his living room, Tip in Tampa.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing nails,” Levine said. “It has always been my passion.”

However, the process was far from easy. Back in March, Levine had hoped to be open in May, but pandemic closures have left her without essentials and nail technicians.

“The warehouses have closed and no one is providing anything,” Levine said. “How can we get things?”

But today, it is only days away from a grand official opening.

Experts said what really turned the corner was the passage of the latest CARES law, which injected money into the economy and supported small businesses like Tipped in Tampa.

This has managed to convince some people, ”said Kathryn Petralia, President of Kabbage, an American Express company. “Also the consumer relieves himself because he puts money in people’s pockets which they can use in their local businesses.”

Kabbage is an online financial technology company that provides financing directly to small businesses.

They recently surveyed over 500 small businesses across the United States.

The results show that 57% of small businesses surveyed say their businesses are fully open as local or federal closings ease and the shift to online sales has reset small business revenue expectations.

When asked to forecast their revenue growth forecast for next month compared to last year, the average response from all respondents was a 21% increase. The largest small businesses were the most optimistic, forecasting 46% revenue growth, followed by small mid-sized businesses (40%), and then smaller businesses (13%).

Kabbage found it had a lot to do with Paycheck Protection Program loans. This is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their employees on their payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan cancellation.

SBA currently offers PPP ready until May 31, 2021. President Biden announced program changes make access to PPP loans more equitable.

“The idea is that it has this cumulative effect,” said Petralia.. “So not only can the company stay in business, but also people can stay employed.”

Levine did not take any PPP loans, but said the injection of stimulus money, along with rising vaccination rates, gave him and other small businesses in Florida a bullish outlook.

“It’s really nice to see more people come in, without being afraid to leave,” Levine said.

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