Struggling entrepreneurs count losses as Pritzker extends stay-at-home order: ‘It is doing a tremendous amount of damage to my business’

“If the debt continues to accumulate, at what point do you look at it and say, well how many years is it going to take to pay this down?” said Jorge Rios, who owns a barbershop and beauty salon in Logan Square

SHARE Struggling entrepreneurs count losses as Pritzker extends stay-at-home order: ‘It is doing a tremendous amount of damage to my business’
merlin_90824653.jpg

Chris Costoso, lead photographer and owner of Impact Images Studio, poses for a portrait in the commercial space at 5000 W. Addison St. that he rented shortly before the state’s stay-at-home order, forcing him to halt construction in the space, Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to send shockwaves through the American economy, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to extend Illinois’ stay-at-home order has left some small business owners counting their losses and considering whether they will ultimately have to close for good.

While the manager of a struggling bridal shop in Little Village welcomed Pritzker’s move to allow certain nonessential businesses to reopen in limited capacity, a photographer from Chicago said the extension will force him to immediately shutter one of his studios.

Jorge Rios and his wife, Vanessa Diaz, a couple who own Chicago’s Best barbershop and beauty salon in Logan Square, have accrued roughly $30,000 in debt as they continue to pay for leases and utilities for the properties while earning nothing.

image_4.jpg

Vanessa Diaz and Jorge Rios own Chicago’s Best barbershop and beauty salon in Logan Square.

Provided photo

“It is doing a tremendous amount of damage to my business,” Rios said. “Something that I’ve worked hard for day in and day out — many hours, many long sleepless nights — that has been successful over the years can be completely crumbled and taken away in a matter of a few months due to forcing me to be closed and the debt accumulating.”

The couple has applied for government loans but hasn’t received any money yet, Rios said. Now, they’re left mulling whether to continue to sink money into their once promising dream.

“If the debt continues to accumulate, at what point do you look at it and say, well how many years is it going to take to pay this down?” said Rios.

Chris Costoso, the lead photographer and owner of Impact Images Studio, fears he may also have to close up shop if he can’t reopen soon. The extended order already means he will need to turn in the keys to his second storefront.

merlin_90824619.jpg

Chris Costoso, lead photographer and owner of Impact Images Studio, 3602 N. Lavergne Ave., poses for a portrait in his studio, Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

“Obviously, we are struggling to make rent,” Costoso said. “At the same time, I am dealing with events getting canceled and wedding seasons is in Chicago over the next couple months.”

The stay-at-home order has forced him to return deposits, and some clients have stopped making payments altogether. Costoso is questioning if he should continue marketing his business and booking gigs knowing it’s uncertain when he will be photographing events again.

“I feel like after three months of nothing, realistically, it might be time for me to hang it up and shut my business down,” he said. “If these orders continue into 2021, I have to ask myself if photography is the career path I want to continue in.”

The statewide shuttering of businesses has also hurt the Novias Davila bridal shop in Little Village, where Patty Navarro works as a manager. As events have been canceled during the statewide shutdown, orders for dresses have fallen off.

merlin_90821697.jpg

Patty Navarro manages the Novias Davila bridal shop in Little Village.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

“Our season will be over by the time we go back, and how can we recuperate from all that loss?” said Navarro, whose shop canceled all March and April orders already and may have to do the same for next month.

The governor’s revised order will allow the bridal shop and other retailers to start making sales through pick-ups and deliveries, which Navarro said could “help in some way.”

“The only problem would be fittings because of the distance rule,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Brandon Harris is so livid about his suburban landscape marketing business losing 90% of its clients that he’s taking to the streets.

Following protests across the country decrying state stay-at-home orders that drew widespread condemnation and an endorsement from President Donald Trump, Harris is organizing similar demonstrations in Crest Hill, Chicago and Springfield to push back against “the unusual shutdown of our economy.”

Screen_Shot_2020_04_23_at_9.12.46_PM.png

Re-Open Illinois organizer Brandon Harris with former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Facebook

“No matter which party you’re from at this point, everybody’s feeling the burden of the shutdown,” said Harris, a Republican activist who owns Joliet-based Lawncare Marketing Success and is leading the Re-Open Illinois movement.

“I’m not going to be happy until everything on the service industry level and the small business level is able to go back to work,” he added. “I think there’s safe ways to do it.”

Asked whether he’s concerned that people could contract the deadly virus at one of the protests he’s leading, Harris claimed that no one who attended a similar rally earlier this week in Springfield has been infected. He said personal protective equipment will be supplied at future protests and attendees are being advised to keep a six-foot distance.

“We’re very on top of the way we’re doing things.”

The Latest
Police identified the shooting suspect as Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a 22-year-old who remained on the loose for more than eight hours after the attack in the affluent suburb’s downtown area.
Nicolas Toledo, a grandfather visiting family in Highland Park, was identified by his granddaughter as one of the people killed in the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in the northern suburb.
When government refuses to act, it betrays the ideals we celebrate on the Fourth.
The strike also is delaying road resurfacing around Chicago and projects including the Interstate 55 and Weber Road interchange and the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet.
MLB
Home runs and sacrifice bunts are down. So are strikeouts, but that is almost entirely because of the National League using the DH.