Three in 10 small businesses say they won’t survive without more federal assistance, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank. Community members are going to great lengths to keep their favorite establishments open for business.
Ian Braverman didn’t want to see any more “closed” signs go up in his neighborhood., “I came up with this idea where I was like, you know, it would be great if I could see if there’s interest from the community, to help just give a small donation, a small gift to all these hardworking people that feed our community,” he says.
That small act got a big response: $14,000 in donations to help 25 restaurants in his Northbrook, Illinois community. Nick Drivas, owner of the Grill House restaurant, couldn’t believe it when Ian, a complete stranger, walked in with a check. “He really made my day,” Drivas says. “His act of kindness in doing that and trying to help the restaurants, I was – when he came into the restaurant, I was kind of overwhelmed with gratitude for what he had done.”
Braverman says pitching in during difficult times is what Americans do. “Just knowing that all these people, they’re hard workers, this is their livelihood. So, we stand to lose these people who have dedicated their lives to things like this,” he says. He believes without community support, we risk losing businesses that are cornerstones of our community.
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In Watertown, Massachusetts, employees and customers raised nearly $50,000 to keep the Deluxe Town Diner afloat. Café Fresco in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania got a boost from community donations through a Barstool Sports fundraiser. Owner of Café Fresco Megan Elia says, “It makes me feel like there’s good humans in the world. There’s people that care about the everyday person.”
In many cases, community support is only part of the solution. The Fed survey from the fall found 44% of small businesses are more than $100,000 in debt.