Local Businesses Struggle Amid Coronavirus Restrictions

The situation has been frustrating to say the least for small businesses

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It hasn't been easy for local business.

City and county leaders across North Texas are issuing various orders of lockdown and encouraging social distancing amid the COVID-19, keeping precious customers and vital dollars away.

The situation has been frustrating to say the least for small business, especially for Ruby Bhandari, who owns Silk Threads Bridal Shop in Carrollton.

Not only has she jumped through hoops to keep up with her inventory since the outbreak started, but she’s also had to limit the number of customers she can serve in her shop to just two per day. She has a stern warning posted on her door to keep those who are sick out of her store in order to keep her business safe.

The struggle started in February, when the fabric she needs to make bridal gowns by hand stopped coming in from China. Luckily, before the pandemic started, she was able to make an emergency trip to India but that hasn't been easy either.

“When I got there, I could see that fabric prices started increasing,” she said. “By the end of my trip, prices had already gone up by 25%.”

The trip itself was stressful, with panic over the virus starting to settle in when she traveled home. She said she took all of the precautions to protect herself, by washing her hands, wiping down seats and wearing a mask in certain areas.

Adding to the struggle, her second huge resource for fabric comes from Italy, which is going through its own COVID-19 crisis and

“And now FedEx and DHL have temporarily completely stopped for a week. Any kind of shipping out of any international location,” Bhandari said.

Now, she says she no choice but to allow only two clients in her shop per day out of safety concerns.

She's also accommodating brides who've had to postpone weddings.

While she's glad people are self-quarantining, she's doing what she can to protect her business.

“I know that a lot of business owners are trying to stay open as much as they can just so that the employees can come to work. I am doing that, I have my people coming in and doing things like inventory and all the backlog. Just because there are people who cannot survive even a week without their income,” she said.

Bhandari stressed that she and her team are keeping a close eye on their health and plans will certainly change if anyone gets sick.

She's also turning to technology with video calls to keep as many bridal appointments as she can, especially for those who are in other states.

 “We are doing FaceTime appointments because they can see the different bridal outfits virtually. So we’re doing whatever we can as a small business to keep the community going,” she said.

This entire strip mall on Josey Lane is filled with local mom and pop shops and eateries, who are losing thousands after having to completely close.

Bhandari hopes sharing this experience will help the community rally behind other local businesses being hit even harder.

“I can probably keep this up for a couple of weeks but even me as a small business owner, my rent is due on the first of every month and rents are not that cheap anymore. So I will do my best.”

Dallas county's "Workforce solutions" is helping displaced workers apply for unemployment assistance during the pandemic.

Click here for more information.

With businesses losing thousands and customers, some relief could be on the way.

Mayor Eric Johnson said he plans to discuss the current state of local businesses and how to mitigate the blow of COVID-19 in a city council meeting Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Contact Us