South Florida

54% of South Florida Small Business Owners Say Covid Negatively Affected Them: Study

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“Out of nowhere there’ll be no supply for a specific product and I have to wait to see when it’s going to come around again.” 

This is something small business owner Martha Valdes has had to deal with as national supply chain issues and back ups at the Port of Miami impact small businesses in South Florida.

A study by Florida’s Small Business Development Center found 54 percent of Florida small business owners feel the pandemic has had a largely negative effect on their business. 

When the pandemic first began, Valdes’ store, La Tiendecita in Westchester, had only been open for six months. Now, valdes says she’s taking things day by day when it comes to getting items on the shelf. 

“I’ve experienced shortages for supplies for my shirts, my hats, my mugs, to be able to produce to be able to sell,” Valdes said.

To get around the issue, she says she preorders items and even lets customers place orders in hopes the shipments come in, and they can get their products. 

“It does hurt me, but it’s out of my control. I wish I could just have everything and everything be perfect, but there’s only so much that I can do,” Valdes said. 

Looking ahead to 2022, more than 20 percent of businesses are “extremely concerned about the supply chain,” while around the same amount say they have “no concern at all.” 

The same study also shows that 40 percent of Florida small business owners say they are extremely concerned about their business’ revenue moving forward. 

“There’s it’s pros and it's cons to the shortages,” Valdes explains. 

She says some products that weren’t selling before are selling now because of the limited supply.

But what happens if you want to get some supplies quickly to keep your inventory full? 

“They rush-ship them. The quality when they came in was mishandled and half of my products were damaged,” Valdes said. “I know that they’re trying to do good and trying to rush the shipment. I lost a lot of money on that because half of my merchandise was unsellable.” 

But even with shortages, people are still choosing to shop local. 

“It’s more tailored to the community,” Miami resident Ashley Wojnar said, “instead of a big corporate world, where I can help out a local business.” 

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