Dee Haywood considers her small business in Gardena, D's Wing Joint, more than a job.
"It represents a new start for my children," said Haywood.
Haywood opened D's Wing Joint one year ago, and she is still struggling to turn a profit
Local news from across Southern California
"People are losing their jobs," she says. "I hear people tell me they're losing their jobs in two weeks and they're not going to be able to eat out much."
Haywood is not surprised by a nationwide study of small business bankruptcies. Equifax found bankruptcies more than doubled in three Southern California metropolitan areas, from prior to the start of the recession in 2008, to the first quarter of this year.
"It's really consistent with what we've seen and heard from small business through this recession period, " said Mark Quinn, Acting District Director of the Small Business Administration Los Angeles office.
Small business owner Nancy Ruff has felt the pain.
"I was a victim of a couple of economic scenarios," she says. "I had to find something else to do."
The independent film producer bought her fair trade boutique three years ago. She learned flexibility is crucial. And she still believes in small business.
"I think people really miss the one on one of dealing with small businesses," she says. "And the business owners love what they're doing, so people keep coming back."
Mark Quinn also believes in small business. And he thinks the sector will bounce back with a lot of help from small business loans.
"This year we're going to do more SBA lending in Los Angeles than any year in history," says Quinn. "And more loans will be made here than any other place in the U.S."