'ON THE EDGE' Seven Atlanta small businesses share how they are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic

That’s how many small businesses operate in the United States. They make up half the country’s jobs.

They are Uber drivers and Airbnb owners, the sole proprietorships fueling the new gig economy. They are also Main Street USA, the owners of your favorite breakfast spot or the bar where you grab drinks with friends.

Amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus and unprecedented shuttering of the U.S. economy, many small business owners are scrambling to pay their rent and their employees. They are trying to hold productive Zoom meetings at home while being asked to teach their kids — who haven’t been in school in weeks and may not go back again until this fall.

For the next several weeks, Atlanta Business Chronicle will be telling you the stories of small business owners, hoping to show the human toll the situation is taking on them. We are following seven small businesses we believe reflect the diversity of Atlanta’s economy and culture. We will share with you how these small businesses are adapting, the mindset that gets them through, the lessons they are learning.

Their voices are meant to offer other Atlanta small business owners, isolated by stay-at-home orders, a chance to feel connected again during an anxious time.

Small business owners are trying to keep workers on their payrolls, but that may depend on how quickly the U.S. government gets billions of dollars from its Paycheck Protection Program into their hands. In a little over three weeks, 16 million Americans have lost their jobs — about 10% of the country’s workforce.

“When you have conversations right now with small business owners, you see the impact,” said Karen Mills, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School who led the Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013.

“This is a crisis for them,” Mills said. “They are on the edge.”

Ann and Sid Mashburn | ‘We have never lived through anything like this’ (Read their story)

  • Location: Westside
  • Founded: 2007
  • What it does: A national upscale clothier with women’s and men’s lines

Arun Mohan, Radix Health | ‘Everything seemed to have changed’ (Read his story)

  • Location: Westside
  • Founded: 2015
  • What it does: Produces software so that people can see and stay connected to their doctors.

Jeff Pollock, Pollock Commercial | ‘This will not last forever’ (Read his story)

  • Location: Atlanta
  • Founded: 2009
  • What it does: Commercial real estate brokerage firm

Karen HoughtonAtlanta Tech Village | The burden of the ‘right’ decision (Read her story)

  • Location: Buckhead
  • Founded: 2012
  • What it does: Small business incubator that’s grown to America’s fourth-largest tech startup hub

Lakeysha Hallmon, The Village Market | ‘Another mountain I have to climb’ (Read her story)

  • Location: Atlanta
  • Founded: 2016
  • What it does: Organizes quarterly markets for black-owned businesses to showcase their goods and services. It also provides small business development workshops

Richard Ramey, The Atlanta Eagle | ‘I know what The Eagle means to the community’ (Read his story)

  • Location: Midtown
  • Founded: 1987
  • What it does: A 33-year-old gay nightclub that caters to the leather community

Ryan Wilson and T.K PetersenThe Gathering Spot | Accepts new challenge amid pandemic (Read their story)

  • Location: Atlanta
  • Founded: 2016
  • What it does: A private membership club run by 29-year-old co-founders Ryan Wilson and T.K. Petersen


By   – Commercial Real Estate Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *