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CRA President and CEO Rachel Michelin Speaks with KTVU Channel 2 in Bay Area “One year later: How COVID killed small businesses”

By Tom VacarPublished 1 day agoCOVID-19 and the EconomyKTVU FOX 2

Rachel Michelin, CEO of the California Retailers Association says retailers are witnessing a slaughter, with a toll that’s also growing.

“At one point we were looking at 30% of particularly small business retailers not coming back,” said Michelin.

Michelin said asking for relief or modifications given California’s overwhelming number of rules, regulations, and fees, has proved and continues to prove to be an impossible task.

“There were opportunities, I think, that we advocated on, on how these stores could safely operate throughout the entire pandemic and that just didn’t happen,” said Michelin.

With vaccines providing a light at the end of a still long tunnel, there will be some sort of rebound.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand. I mean, a lot of people are really itching to go out, to go downtown, to go to restaurants, to go to bars, to get dessert, to walk around to get back into movie theaters,” said Fairlie.

Michelin added: “It’s good for our communities and so we really need to be fostering opportunities for these stores to stay open.”

“But, something we saw pre-pandemic may ruin that party,” Fairlie said. “I think that we’re also more used to purchasing things online and that is something that is not going to go entirely away.” 

Across the business spectrum, many large retailers have either downsized or closed, or filed for bankruptcy at almost twice the rate of 2018 or all of the bad choices above. Many regional retailers, such a Fry’s Electronics, are gone.

We won’t know the true extent of the damage for another year when the Census Bureau compiles its report.

“But, never count out California’s world-leading entrepreneurial spirit,” said Michelin. “You’re going to see people looking and finding the opportunity within the chaos.”

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