Denver lounge was closed by pandemic even before it opened


Ashlie Ordonez has worked in the beauty industry for over seven years and dreams of opening her own salon. And she did, but it turned out the timing was pretty bad.

Ordonez was preparing for the inauguration of The naked bar in Denver where it would offer services such as body waxing, facials, and eyelash and brow care. She signed a four-year lease in mid-February 2020 and had planned to open to the public on March 21, giving herself a few weeks to set up her living room. But just days before the grand opening, Colorado, along with other states and local governments across the country, began ordering the temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I could never have predicted it would be so bad,” Ordonez said.

She started with seven employees, but that has changed.

“We’re down to two, myself and another employee,” she said.

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Ordonez about what it means to run a micro-business during this time. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: So, we should say that you have been in the beauty business for a long time. You started your store in late 2019 / early 2020 which in the annals of business timing is terrible. How long did it take you to realize that things were going to turn badly?

Ashlie Ordonez: I think I got, like, that kind of idea as soon as we shut everything down, and we were in the red on March 17th. And we were, you know, forced to shut down. It definitely made me feel like, “Oh damn, this is really bad timing.” But I had enough savings to say to myself, “We’re going to be fine, we’re just going to be tight at first. “

Ryssdal: And I don’t necessarily need to know the numbers, but I imagine you are losing money every month. I mean, you can’t make money even with just two people.

Order: It’s so crazy to see where we were and where we are now. Yes, it is substantial. We have been strongly impacted. And I could never have predicted it would be so bad.

Ryssdal: Did you ask for a [Paycheck Protection Program] ready in the first round?

Order: I did it, I applied for it, and the [Economic Injury Disaster] Ready, and I was turned down for both because of the timing,

Ryssdal: Say more about the timing.

Order: So unfortunately the way the PPP was stipulated I had to be in business and taking clients by February 15th. But unfortunately, I signed my lease on February 14th, so I had to build my studio, but I was already stuck in my lease. So it’s like a four-year lease in which I was already locked. In fact, we were supposed to open on March 21st, it was going to be our grand opening. But then we got this news, and that we were in the red zone, and that we had to shut everything down until further notice. So because I hadn’t been able to take clients, because we had just opened and had to build, they just said that I had not suffered an economic disaster. Which is just crazy to be told that when you are locked in something there is no way out. But you are also obliged to be closed for three months. It’s just a big blow to the business.

Ryssdal: Do you think – and look, I understand that you are a small business owner trying every day to find ways to make your business survive – but do you think people are paying attention to you and the other micro businesses out there? this economy?

Order: I certainly feel a bit lost in the shuffle. I think the banks are looking to the big companies that can earn them more. I think they see these small microenterprises as a risk. But we are the ones who need the support the most. And we’re just not seen in that, which is really disheartening.

Ryssdal: Yes, I’m sure. How did you keep this business open? Are you building up your own credit card debt? Have you mortgaged your house? I mean, what are you doing?

Order: This is the next step. So I sold my anniversary ring for $ 12,000 to invest in the business. And at this point, yes, I actually have a meeting later today with my bank to try to get a line of credit. So hopefully we can get approval for this so that we don’t have to shut down permanently.

Ryssdal: Yes. Did you remember to stop it and walk away?

Order: Yes. I had the conversation with my husband this morning, which is a truly heartbreaking decision to speak up. In fact, we sold our house to open this place, which was over 4,000 square feet, and we just moved into a 1,900 square foot house. So we have already sold a house to live this dream of opening our own house. So the idea of ​​selling another house doesn’t really seem like an option for me. I feel like my family has sacrificed enough already.

Ryssdal: Yes. How much longer can you give her, Ashlie?

Order: Uh, my husband is begging me to hold out until May. I’m definitely about to think about walking away. But he begs me to stay until May. So I think I’m going to wait until May and pray to the Lord to help me get through this.

Why are consumer prices increasing?

Some shoppers may have noticed that their grocery bills are higher lately. Energy prices and used cars and trucks are also on the rise. Jayson Lusk, head of the agricultural economics department at Purdue University, said several factors had pushed up food prices, including China which recently bought more American products, more drivers and challenges related to food production. pandemic in supply chains and the workforce. In addition, wages are on the rise, even though productivity increased faster as labor compensation for decades. “I expect inflation to probably continue for the next six semesters, at least,” Lusk said.

Learn more about inflation here.

What do the CDC’s most recent mask guidelines mean for stores and their workers?

By now you’ve heard the news on these tips: People with vaccines no longer need to wear a face mask indoors in most settings. Yet local governments and businesses are allowed to demand them. The mask warrants were tricky, even dangerous, so that public enterprises can navigate. Retail workers across the country have been harassed and physically assaulted while applying the mask mandates. “The updated guidelines created an impossible situation for retailers, ”said Lisa LaBruno, senior executive vice president of retail operations and innovation with the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “There is now an ambiguity in expectations, both from members of the retail team and from customers. “

Why do you have to be unemployed for more than six months before you are classified as “long-term unemployed”?

After all, people are starting to feel the the stress and financial hardship of long-term unemployment before reaching the 27 week mark. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.2 million Americans are long term unemployed. Patrick Carey, deputy commissioner in the Bureau of Employment and Unemployment in the Bureau of Statistics, has an explanation. “The break of 27 weeks or more fits well with the maximum length of time many states offer regular UI benefits,” Carey said.


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