Carson City business owners consider options, futures during coronavirus shutdown
Cindi Miller started the new year off starting a new business.
She opened Pure Platinum Salon and Spa in the heart of downtown, on the southeast corner of 5th and Carson streets. Before she knew it she had five hair stylists and one manicurist renting space and the business was busy.
“I felt so blessed to have the salon fill up,” said Miller.
Now, the salon is empty, temporarily shuttered as an non-essential business under order by Gov. Steve Sisolak in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Miller told the other stylists and the nail technician not to pay rent for April.
“Four of the girls are single moms with one income,” said Miller. “I don’t want them not feeding their kids.”
Miller said she may draw from her retirement account to support herself. And she spent at least one morning this week researching online about loans available from the Small Business Administration.
“The web site froze up on me,” said Miller. “What a stress mess.”
Miller is one of dozens of business owners in Carson City rushing to figure out how to survive the next few weeks, possibly months.
Richard Wenschleg, owner of two Yogurt Beach stores in Carson City and one in Gardnerville, is looking into how to turn his offerings into take out, which restaurants are allowed to continue to provide.
None of the stores can accommodate a drive-through, but he spoke to a contractor about converting one store’s window into a walk-up window. The price tag: $2,500.
“But will it be worth it if we only get a few customers? No one is moving around,” said Wenschleg. “We’re used to 300 to 500 customers a day. The last week we had 25.”
Wenschleg is also looking into developing an app for curbside service.
“We’re trying to weigh all our options now,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re still here in 60 to 90 days.”
Bella Vita was better positioned than some restaurants. The Carson Mall eatery already delivered food to local businesses.
“I am very, very thankful for the delivery business,” said Lori Baxter, owner.
Much of that business dried up when state and city offices and hair salons closed their doors, but Baxter and her staff have been able to keep it going with curbside service and even home delivery.
She’s also been making food available for people who have lost their jobs or struggling through a generous donation from a longtime customer in Minden.
“We have a donor who is an amazing human being,” said Baxter. “She wanted to help us and not just give us a cash but help us help others, too.”
Baxter is also trying to expand a new program called healthy living and provide those dinners via take out, too.
“That’s one of the creative things we’ve been trying to do,” she said.
The bulk of the businesses revenue, though, comes from catering, which is at a standstill.
So Baxter said she has downtime to do things like paint rocks with her fiancé, which is unusual for her.
“I’m saying prayers for everyone’s physical health and for all our businesses to survive this,” said Baxter. “I just hope we all get through this.”
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Pure Platinum Salon and Spa