Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus on Oregon small business

You know those times when you’re ridiculously busy — you mean everyday? says every entrepreneur — and you’ve convinced yourself that that thing you forgot to do was actually done. But it wasn’t. Yeah. That. I meant to share the details of a survey Built Oregon and our partners recently completed to help give folks a better understanding of the impact of this whole COVID-19 situation on local business. But I didn’t. So I am now.

These 900 voices represented Oregon product companies, retailers, service industry, event and tourism, restaurants and bars across 21 Oregon counties — more than half the counties in the state. All of these business owners took the time to fill out the form even as they are dealing with truly unimaginable challenges. And the stories and numbers they shared were, in a word, heartbreaking.

78% revealed weekly sales revenue losses of at least $5,000 per week, totaling a minimum estimated loss of $4.8 million statewide [for those 900 respondents alone]

58% expressed their primary concern as employee welfare

53% shared their primary concern as making lease payments

52% were primarily concerned with making payroll

Part of me is thinking my forgetfulness may be opportune. (Because working with startups, I like to try to find the positive spin on everything.) I guess it dawned on me to share this now, specifically, because I can appreciate that this is situation is starting to normalize for some folks. Some folks are already starting to get used to sheltering in place. And working from home. And taking every meeting and happy hour as a Zoom call. And ordering in.

But it’s not. It’s not normal. And a bunch of our friends and neighbors are hurting right now. And we need to keep that top of mind as a community.

But also because I can imagine that with the Census and the COVID-19 pandemic and everything else going on, folks are likely already experiencing survey fatigue. And I get it. And I feel it. And I empathize. But please try to remember that the next survey you get could have a very real impact on our future. By providing the real numbers around what’s happening. And helping us see the real opportunities for support for folks.

Like our partnering organizations were able to do with the data collected.

So if you’re interested in reading more — and I hope you are — here’s the post from Built Oregon and the coverage from the Portland Business Journal.

[Full disclosure: I am the cofounder of Built Oregon.]


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