Small businesses hit hard as COVID-19 forces closures

The walk-in fridge at Kinder Bites should be full, but the business is hurting as COVID-19 forces closures. (Source: KOLN)

LINCOLN, Neb. - As COVID-19 continues to cause closures and cancellations, small businesses across the capital city are feeling the effects.

Kinder Bites said almost 50% of it's business is being lost because of coronavirus concerns.

Normally, the store's walk-in fridge would be filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and other snacks for daycares, after school programs and other businesses. Now, it's almost empty.

"It's caused us to not only worry about our business and how our business is going to financially survive and now were worried about us and how we will financially survive in our home,” said Brandy Cruz, owner of Kinder Bites.

As organizations close their doors, the Cruz family said it is left with an uncertain future. Their business is an LLC and not a corporation, so they say they cannot file for unemployment.

"I can see how our business has been shrinking drastically, and it's scary," said owner Agustin Cruz.

Kinder Bites has had to cut hours for its seven employees, but the Cruz family also has six mouths to feed at home, with kids in elementary, middle and high school.

To try and supplement the lost income, the family recently sold their home.

“Thankfully it sold in 5 days," Cruz said. "That’s allowing us to pull our equity out of the home and by pulling our equity out that gives us income to live off of."

But Cruz said that income will only supplement them for six to eight months.

A large chunk of Kinder Bite's business in the summer comes from summer meal programs, something that may not happen.

“This is really happening around the world so I want them to be serious about it, I want everybody to be serious about it," Cruz said. "Be clean, be safe, stay home.”

The Cruz family said they are exploring other options like take-home meals as a way to make up some of the lost revenue.