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“It’s Still Not a Good Time”

“Dear PoPville,

For many years before 2020 my DC-based small retail business happily obliged requests from parents of local school children to make donations to their school/PTO auctions and fundraisers. The support of our neighbors helped make our business sustainable.

I recently received a donation request from the parent of a well-resourced Capitol Hill neighborhood public school and I want to let readers know that such requests are probably really tough to accommodate right now for businesses that have managed to hang on into this year.

It pains me to say I can’t help but it’s also really uncomfortable for me to have to explain the reasons why.

We had to take a PPP loan from the government so we could rehire our employees last summer and we still aren’t certain it will be forgiven. We were fortunate to get an Economic Injury Disaster Loan form the SBA that we hope will allow us to weather the ongoing storm, a 30-year debt commitment owners are on the hook for personally even if the business fails. We are now praying for another round of PPP to prevent additional layoffs.

I am grateful for the financial support my business has received over the past year but I have an obligation to use it responsibly. Parents please realize that if your school’s fundraiser was such a great “business development opportunity” you wouldn’t have to ask, I would be lining up to give you my money. I used to make the donations because we had the means and it’s a nice thing to do.

I look forward to giving back to the community as soon as we are able but it’s still not a good time for a lot of small businesses in DC.

One of Your Local Retail Shop Owners”

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