In a two-week span the chamber surveyed 155 local businesses and non-profits. Nearly a third shared that they had less than two months of cash reserves and could close permanently as a result.
“When I saw the survey results, especially results relating to what people’s cash position is right now, it was very, very sobering,” said Ian Holzhauer, chairman of NACC’s board. “I had a very hard time sort of contemplating that and what that means for people just like me and households across Naperville.”
Of the 155 local businesses and non-profits, only 13% are fully open.
The survey also showed 44% of respondents are expected to reduce staff hours, 64% have had either a significant loss of business or worse, and 10% were on the verge of losing their business.
Potential Business Closures
Kaylin Risvold, president and CEO of NACC expects more businesses and nonprofits to be on the verge of closing down as time goes on.
“We’ve talked about what’s called the ‘COVID hangover’ where people are right now using scotch tape to tape everything together to hold business together. Crossing their fingers and hoping and praying when business re-opens, ‘it’s going to be great.’ Well, what happens if businesses re-opening is different than we expect? What do things look like six months from now? I feel like we’re going to see that ‘hangover’ of businesses not being able to keep up.”
The survey was released on April 21. Since then, modifications to the Illinois stay-at-home order have allowed some businesses to re-open. Just yesterday, Governor J.B. Pritzker unveiled his phased plan, Restore Illinois to re-open the state’s economy.
Risvold recommends that businesses should be ready to hit the ground running when the economy opens up.
“Because when we re-open it is about re-opening responsibly and things are going to look different,” said Risvold. “So businesses need time to investigate what changes they’re going to make, to train their employees and to educate their employees. If you need masks, hand sanitizer, those guards when you got to the cash registers, businesses need time to find those items, to buy those items, and to train their employees on sanitation processes.”
Before Illinois fully re-opens, Holzhauer encourages community members to help support businesses and nonprofits by buying gift cards, ordering take-out, and shopping local so Naperville won’t lose its charm.
“Yes Naperville will survive no matter what happens as a result of COVID,” said Holzhauer. “But I want it to have some of the character – as much of the character, as we had before, still intact. If the net result of this is that Naperville becomes a place where there’s nothing but a couple of big box stores and everyone orders everything online, I don’t think that will be the same kind of community that we had before.”
The Chamber will host a virtual Congressional Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Representatives Bill Foster and Sean Casten this Friday discussing what re-opening the economy looks like.
The Chamber plans on releasing another survey in the near future to help keep an accurate number of the businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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