coronavirus pandemic

Small Business Owners Are Trying to Stay Open and Serve the Community By Getting Creative With Their Services

We talked to two small business owners impacted by the recent closures of all gyms, and indoor dining rooms.

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Eric Fleishman, otherwise known as Eric the Trainer says he has never seen his gym so empty. 

“It’s been a wild time!”

Since the City of Burbank shut down all fitness centers due to health concerns over COVID-19, Eric has had to re-think his business model. So he started offering his clients workouts online.

“We’ve been doing Facetime sessions, we’ve been doing Zoom sessions. And it’s going very well,” Fleishman says. “We’ve been instructing our clients to purchase different pieces of home equipment that they can use in the sessions.”

His clients come from all walks of life including UFC fighters, and actors from "The Walking Dead" and "The Karate Kid." But even though his gym is empty right now, he says keeping people healthy is his priority.

“I’m not worried about losing money, I’m worried about losing health. To me health is wealth. Finances will come and go in our lives," Fleishman says. "What I’m most concerned about are people. The health of them, the mental health of them, the physical health. And I’m committed to helping in any way I can.”

While many small businesses are able to move their services online, brick and mortar establishments like restaurants are looking for other ways to stay open. Guerrilla Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles is encouraging people to use their walk-up window and carryout service by offering an Emergency Taco Kit. 

Brittney Valles, Managing Partner and President of Guerrilla Tacos says, for $150 you get 30 eggs, 5 pounds of chicken, 5 pounds of steak, 1 pint of red salsa, 1 pint of green salsa, tortillas, rice and beans, cilantro, onions and 4 rolls of toilet paper. 

Valles says they wanted to find a way to provide a service for the community, and give their 58 employees hours so they can maintain their health insurance.

“Every restaurant is closing, so our vendors are hurting, our staff is hurting,” Valles explains. “So even though we’re not profiting a ton off of the taco kits, they’re able to keep everything alive and going. We’re really grateful for that.”

For now the dining room is closed but customers seem more than happy to use the walk-up window for takeout orders. And many of them are taking advantage of the Emergency Taco Kit.

“We’re getting more and more orders everyday. It’s really exciting because we’ll have to call in more people tomorrow. And we love our staff. They are constantly excited to come back and we really want to make that happen. So it’s been a positive response.”

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