TAMPA, Fla. — From completely shutting down to opening back up in limited capacity, small businesses have been hit hard in 2020.
“It was a difficult time,” said Michael Lamb, the owner of RCP America, an auto detailing company.
Lamb and other local businesses like Dark Door Spirits, a distillery north of the airport, refocused their business model and began producing and selling hand sanitizers to get by.
“One of the biggest things that we as a company our goal was to help families and help keep businesses afloat and keep them safe,” said Lamb.
But businesses also took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program. $32 billion in PPP loans came to 430,000 businesses across our state.
“We were able to get the PPP loan in late July beginning of August and it was a lifesaver, it was a lifesaver,” said Felicia Lacalle, the owner and chef at Kuba Cocina in Armature works.
“I don’t know if our business would’ve survived without it,” said Troy Manthey, the President and CEO of Pirate Water Taxi.
Pirate Taxi went from 145 employees to just 13.
“In March we were 16% ahead of the last year, 2019, and really growing a little small business,” said Manthey.
Because of PPP loans, they’re now back up to 90 employees.
Congresswoman Kathy Castor is fighting for more PPP loans but is also encouraging folks to get out and shop local this Saturday.
“Every dollar that is spent in a small business rather than buying something online, those dollars stay in the Tampa Bay area and circulate and help lift everyone,” said Castor.
“If small business dies, a city dies,” said Kelly Hawaii, the owner of Lufka Refillables Zero Waste.
She along with other Seminole Heights businesses is doing their yearly shop hop minus the raffle party afterward with extra sanitizing measures.
“A small business owner adds flair and this culture and this creativity to our city and we make it great,” she said.
All of these businesses are offering holiday deals — Pirate Water Taxi is offering an annual pass for $59.95 saving you about $50. They are also offering a dinner cruise for two on Yacht StarShip for $79.95.
Dark Door Spirits is offering cocktail classes plus distillery tours.
Kuba Cocina says they’re doing family-style meals plus they say their hot sauces and gift cards make great stocking stuffers.