More Small Business Closings Ahead?

 

Today we went to our local gun shop/shooting range to finally get in some practice; we’d already had to cancel one trip when we both got sick. We were greeted with a barrier across their driveway stating that they had to temporarily close due to the “flu,” and were too short-staffed. I was disappointed that they weren’t open, but mostly concerned that the two men who run the shop, John and Walter, might be ill, and we are especially fond of John. They don’t have a large staff to begin with.

We all know how devastating the business closures were in many states due to mandates, fears, and precautions. This time, however, there’s a new threat for small businesses: small numbers of staff who come down with the coronavirus and flu.

Will these businesses be able to survive new closures with the uncertainty about staffing and Covid? Will the financial losses they incur be one time too many? Will they be able to find healthy staff to fill in for those who become sick? Remember, all small businesses are not restaurants and are often minimally staffed.

I just hope John and Walter will be okay.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Too many small businesses are on the knife’s edge already. We are headed toward a cataclysm. 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Too many small businesses are on the knife’s edge already. We are headed toward a cataclysm.

    I can hope that their illnesses are mild, and with the revision on quarantine time, people will be able to return sooner rather than later.

    • #2
  3. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Agree about caring for the small businesses. We started shopping almost exclusively at small businesses last winter, even online for things we can’t find locally by buying direct from small businesses websites or through Ebay. 

    Probably the best way you can really support John and Walter now is to buy another gun or two, or three, and as much ammo as they’re able to sell you. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Agree about caring for the small businesses. We started shopping almost exclusively at small businesses last winter, even online for things we can’t find locally by buying direct from small businesses websites or through Ebay.

    Probably the best way you can really support John and Walter now is to buy another gun or two, or three, and as much ammo as they’re able to sell you.

    Unfortunately they are up and down with keeping ammo in and didn’t have my .380 last time. Re the gun buying . . . we’ll have to see . . . ;-) I really appreciate your buying locally, Vince. That can make a huge difference if more of us do that.

    • #4
  5. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    I blame Bozo the fauci and big business which are partners (who wanted to kill small business) not the Wuflu.

    • #5
  6. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    My gun shop/range now closes on Monday due to staff shortages. I think it probably works pretty well for their business. A lot of small businesses are starting to figure out that there are hours (and days) where being opened doesn’t cover the cost of being opened.

    Back when I was forecasting, I used to come back in the evenings 8:00 or 9:00 pm and work until midnight or 1:00 am, when it was quiet enough to concentrate on the more detailed parts of the forecast. I discovered a rough indicator of the health of the local economy: If you can get fast food 24 hours, it’s a bad economy, if you can get it until 1:00 am, it’s normal, and if there all closed by 10:00 pm, it’s hot.

     I’m sure it’s not the case everywhere, but we’re currently running at an unemployment rate of less than 2%. A lot of the labor statistics have stopped making sense, the number of unemployed is about equal to the population we expect to enter the workforce for the first time. We are nearly back to the number of total nonfarm jobs as before the pandemic, but with a smaller workforce. The number of open jobs is at record highs. On thing that occurs to me is that the economy is just now reaping the impact of Obamacare. Many service industries cut back the hours of their employees to stay below the insurance mandates, resulting in many workers (mostly younger) working two or more (low-wage, low-skilled) jobs. With older workers now retiring in greater numbers (I think the pandemic and health fears, and working from home resulted in a lot of retirements), it seems possible that a lot of younger workers are seeing opportunities to quit one or more jobs by picking up a better-paying job with benefits.

    This explains a number of things. Income tax withholding are not consistent with lower numbers of employees, that is, income tax withholding stayed higher than expected, at least here. We are not getting as many complaints from manufacturers and other larger employers about not being able to hire. Most of the new unfilled jobs are in the service sector, and tend to be lower wage jobs. Of course, here we weren’t locked down for very long. But in the nationwide BLS surveys recently left-the-workforce have been mostly older workers, and women with children at home. Which tells me that the pre-pandemic total jobs numbers aren’t coming back anytime soon. 

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    My guess is that a gun store/shooting range benefits more from range memberships than from individual sales.  Because the service membership is all money for them, they don’t split it with Smith & Wesson or whoever.

    • #7
  8. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Agree about caring for the small businesses. We started shopping almost exclusively at small businesses last winter, even online for things we can’t find locally by buying direct from small businesses websites or through Ebay.

    Probably the best way you can really support John and Walter now is to buy another gun or two, or three, and as much ammo as they’re able to sell you.

    Unfortunately they are up and down with keeping ammo in and didn’t have my .380 last time. Re the gun buying . . . we’ll have to see . . . ;-) I really appreciate your buying locally, Vince. That can make a huge difference if more of us do that.

    Yeah, it’s hit and miss here too. They sell ammo and guns at our local grocery store but they only have my calibers once in a while. 

    Already have a pistol? Get a shotgun. Already have a shotgun? You’ll need a rifle. There’s always an adequate justification for a new gun. Heck, with the way things are going eventually you’ll be able to trade rifle ammo for food so maybe any caliber will do in the end. 

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    One problem with finding help is that who wants to work in a business that could be shut down with no warning by a politician’s whim?

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    One problem with finding help is that who wants to work in a business that could be shut down with no warning by a politician’s whim?

    That is an excellent point, Stad. I was also wondering whether people might be reluctant to go in to a small business where they could be exposed to the highly contagious Omicron?

    • #10
  11. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    The whole thing is part of the larger picture but guns are worse than just small business that provide some independence to individuals who own, run or use them.   There is a new technology that allow one to use real guns without using expensive bullets that can be used safely at home.   Anybody here know about this?

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    One problem with finding help is that who wants to work in a business that could be shut down with no warning by a politician’s whim?

    That is an excellent point, Stad. I was also wondering whether people might be reluctant to go in to a small business where they could be exposed to the highly contagious Omicron?

    You know, you just gave me an idea for a post . . .

    • #12
  13. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    I Walton (View Comment):

    The whole thing is part of the larger picture but guns are worse than just small business that provide some independence to individuals who own, run or use them. There is a new technology that allow one to use real guns without using expensive bullets that can be used safely at home. Anybody here know about this?

    Uh huh. I use laser cartridges and targets to practice daily, so I have been able to keep my proficiency at least at slightly embarrassing levels during this miserable last year. It’s not as good as the real thing but it works for trigger discipline and wrist strength.

    In the state of New York we have an abomination called the SAFE act, which means that even though I’m a certified instructor I can’t let you pick up one of my handguns unless you have a permit. NRA did something pretty clever a couple of years ago: they created a version of the Basic Pistol course that uses blue plastic simulator guns with lasers in them. So I can take you through the basics of handgun safety and use without violating the SAFE act. There’s no certification for the course, so it doesn’t help you get a permit, but it’s a big help if you haven’t bought a handgun yet and aren’t sure what’s right for you. It also lets you start your time as a responsible gun owner with a thorough grounding of the safety rules.

    The folks who make the Mantis-X gadget that helps you work on accuracy by mounting an accelerometer on your firearm and sensing movement as you use it, also make a line of laser inserts in popular calibers at a very reasonable price. I have two in .380 and two in 9mm and have been happy with them.

    • #13
  14. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    One problem with finding help is that who wants to work in a business that could be shut down with no warning by a politician’s whim?

    That is an excellent point, Stad. I was also wondering whether people might be reluctant to go in to a small business where they could be exposed to the highly contagious Omicron?

    I agree with Jim Geraghty that the sooner we all get Omicron the sooner the pandemic goes away. If it’s no worse than a bad cold for most people, it’s nature’s vaccination.

    Of course, people like you and me who are immuno-compromised or have comorbidities would rather not get Omicron. But so far it doesn’t seem to be killing anyone. I’m sure if it did the media would be trumpeting it from the rooftops.

    • #14
  15. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    I agree with Jim Geraghty that the sooner we all get Omicron the sooner the pandemic goes away.

    Did he say that about Alpha too? Why would this ever go away. It’s far too lucrative for far too many people. 

    • #15
  16. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Any update on your range?

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Any update on your range?

    No. We do need to give them a call. We’re way overdue for a practice. 

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Our gun store/range re-opened! We were so glad to get some shooting in. Everyone was struck down with Covid at the same time, probably contracted from a customer. Just like the flu, John said. But they’re back on their feet and in the store. I missed them!

    • #18