Back in April, KUNR talked with Alycia Tanner, the owner of This and That Marketplace in Gardnerville, about the impact of COVID-19 on her business. This and That Marketplace is a retail location that hosts many small businesses selling a variety of home goods, along with refurbished furniture and other items. Previously, Tanner expressed concern about low sales and declining foot traffic. KUNR’s Jayden Perez checked back in with Tanner to see what’s happened since then.
Perez: You had mentioned in your email that you might be closing in the next few weeks. Do you mind explaining what happened in the past few months?
Tanner: We were closed from March to May, and that was a loss of income for us. We were unable to make any sales during that time. We tried online [sales]. We had very minimal success with that. [Since] we reopened in May, it has been extremely slow. We, on average, have done maybe a thousand dollars in sales in the month for May, June and July. So obviously that's not enough to keep a retail location operating. I've had to pick up a full-time job in order to keep the doors open for the last few months. There's been no funding from the federal government for us, no funding from the state and local government for us. So without the proper funds, we're looking at having been forced to close our doors. And it's unfortunate. I mean, the business has been operating for three years and we were just breaking even before the coronavirus hit us.
Perez: There were supposed to be funds for small businesses and things along those lines. What was the process trying to apply for those?
Tanner: The first one was essentially a grant for small businesses and you could be offered a $1,000 to $10,000. And it was based upon how many employees you had. I'm the sole owner. I open and close the store. I don't have any employees. And so I went online, filled out the information that they requested, which was pretty basic information. So that was the first one. Then there was the paycheck protection plan. If you didn't have employees, you were not eligible for that. I tried [getting a loan] at Wells Fargo and a few other banks in town, and they all told me the same thing. So we were stuck. There were no other alternatives for it. There was no other funding offered to any of us.
Perez: What do you think Gardnerville will look like, a month or a year from now, if businesses continue going the route they've been going?
Tanner: I don't think it's going to look very pretty. We are going to have a lot more businesses closing doors. We're going to have empty buildings. The cute and adorable little retail shops are all going to disappear. These are the things that especially in Gardnerville and Minden, we have residents and visitors that come and spend hours shopping at our small shops. And I think that in the future it may not be as popular of an activity for people because there's not going to be a whole lot of them left.
Perez: What's kept you going every day?
Tanner: I have a tremendous support system within my business from the local merchants that are inside the store. They're the ones that I keep hoping and fighting for, because, at the end of the day, none of them are able to do craft shows this year. They're not making any money. So by me closing my doors, it's not affecting just my pocket, it's affecting over 75 other small businesses. So the hope that I can continue going forward and helping them is what has been keeping me going and strong and trying to figure out the different ways to keep the doors open. And we'll see, I'm still hopeful. It is what it is though, at this point.
Perez: Thank you very much for your time.
Tanner: You're welcome, thank you for asking me to do this.
Jayden Perez is a senior at the Reynolds School of Journalism.