Azle businesses are not receiving COVID relief money


Maryann Matt

Picture of Peace, Love, & Plants

When interviewing business owners for a recent story on local businesses, we discovered that many businesses had not received a small business stimulus check, despite applying for one. This was has been detrimental to many small businesses that were unable to open because they were not labeled as essential.

“It was paycheck protection and I don’t have employees, so I’m the only one that draws a paycheck from the business,” owner of Ain’t That Something, Maria Kisner said.

Even though small businesses might be struggling, they would still not receive relief because they are deemed not in need based solely on the fact that they don’t have employees.

But they still have bills to pay.

“We would be able to have more inventory, be open longer, and be able to hire people to work here,” Peace, Love, and Plants owner Leesa Wolf said. “Currently, we have a really nice volunteer who helps out a lot and she’s really been [essential] in our growth.”

Many businesses have had to cut down on hours just to try and stay afloat during the pandemic with customers coming in less and people losing their jobs. With the stimulus check only for businesses with people who have employees, it jeopardizes new businesses who might have been planning to hire people.

“On our little street alone, four businesses went out of business,” Kisner said. “Small businesses don’t have a reserve for catastrophes like this and so it’s been really hard to keep it going,”

According to Kisner small businesses don’t keep a whole lot of money in savings because they typically use it for bills and other essentials, and they need these funds so they don’t go out of business and need more customers to buy from them.

“Our business is down fifty percent since all this started,” Wolf said. “We’ve even offered curbside pick up and even that doesn’t seem to be enough.”

Many small businesses offer services such as curbside and online shipping in hopes to be more accessible to people who are playing it safe but the need for locals to buy local is still important Kisner said.

“Buy local, shop local, stop buying online: Amazon, Walmart,” Kisner said. “And keep your local businesses going.”

By shopping locally, stores will be able to prosper and not have the fear of shutting down during the pandemic or even after the pandemic. It is a hard time for everyone right now, but by shopping locally, the people of Azle can release pressure on the economic future of city’s economy.

“Shop local,” Kisner said. “Know that our shop is doing the right things where we wear a mask 100% of the time and clean all the time. I’m a registered nurse so I still work at the hospitals and so I take this COVID stuff very seriously.”