How small business are dealing with the changes


Inside Arizona Dynamics Gymnastics with no athletes or coaches.

Small businesses in Arizona have quickly begun to feel the negative effects of covid-19 and all that is changing because of it.

“It has been very tough from a business standpoint because many of our families lost jobs or had to cut back with extra expenses.  Needless to say, we lost 60% of our clientele because of COVID-19,” says Wee Blessings preschool owner Debi Larkin-Chavez.

Wee Blessings has 2 locations: one in Queen Creek, and one in Chandler. The school has a small staff but Larkin-Chavez says the employees are all very dedicated teachers. 

“It has been so sad all around.  But, we’re trying maintain consistency for our students and families…as much as possible,” says Larkin-Chavez. 

There are businesses all over Arizona that are struggling during this pandemic. Small businesses are getting hit the hard, and locally owned restaurants are dealing with it in all kinds of different ways. 

“It’s challenging running a business in a time like this but luckily we get to stay open for customers to pick up food and that’s what we’re relying on right now,” says Kristina Gwinn, owner of Sidelines Grill.

Sidelines is a sports restaurant that opened in 2003 and is located in Chandler. It is often crowded by sports fans all over the valley, but due to the pandemic, the restaurant had to close it’s dine-in area and is facing the repercussions.

“We had a customer come in the other day and they wrote letter to our staff saying how much they appreciate us and what we are doing to help and it really meant a lot… knowing that our regulars stand by us no matter what,” says Gwinn. 

Along with restaurants and schools, there’s sports facilities having to deal with the new rules. Arizona Dynamic Gymnastics closed their doors, due to the virus, back in March. The gym has been around since 1999 and wanted to hold off on closing for as long as possible because no one was certain if the rest of the teams season was cancelled, and because taking any time off of gymnastics is always a big risk.

“We tormented for days over this decision. We’re trying to follow… the rules of the CDC while also considering our 80 employees who depend on this paycheck and the 250 athletes who consider this home,” says director and coach Michelle Strang. 

Along with the gym having to deal with the hurt of knowing they can’t provide for their employees like they wish they could, they also had to deal with a large amount of negative feedback from families.

“I wish I could say I [was] unaffected by the awful comments and phone calls we received, but there were parents of my own athletes getting mad at us for closing and it just really hurt,” says Strang.

In this time of crisis, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and become overwhelmed with fear and anger. But the small business out there are trying their best to do what is right, even if that means having to close to keep everyone safe.