Impact of Covid on a Small Business

Impact of Covid on a Small Business

Ethan Becerra

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to hit citizens and small businesses hard. I interviewed Trevor Menendez.  He is an employee at an automotive tuner shop where he works on custom cars, rebuilds engines and delivers them to his customers. He knows first hand the effect the virus has on social interactions. I asked him the following questions.

Ethan: I know we’re friends, but please state your name for the record.

Trevor: *smiles* Menendez, Trevor.

Ethan: Age?

Trevor: 18, soon to be 19.

Ethan: Occupation?

Trevor: Assistant Supervisor at Burnt Rubber Tuning. I help the Senior Supervisor, and assume his position when he’s not there.

Ethan: So Trevor, what are your thoughts on the virus?

Trevor: I think it’s horrible in every way possible. I have to watch my personal health more, and I lost a lot of work because of it.

Ethan: How much work have you lost?

Trevor: Initially, we lost about 45-50% because the orders weren’t being filled, and cars weren’t being finished. We lost almost half of the revenue we expected to get. Which is horrible because tuner shops are in a competitive business. If you stop, someone will pass you. Just flat out ruthless.

Ethan: How bad was the loss of work for you guys at the shop?

Trevor: Pretty bad at first. Cars either sat incomplete, or were complete but just collected dust. Engines sat, and the building just stood abandoned.

Ethan: How did the customers react to temporarily shutting down.

Trevor: Oh god, horribly. I had people calling my personal phone hounding me about when their car was getting done. One tried breaking into the shop and ended up being arrested. That one was because he decided to stop while the car was in pieces, and didn’t want to pay for the work already done.

Ethan: Did anyone remain with you guys when you reopened?

Trevor: Surprisingly enough yes, about three quarters of them did. The ones that didn’t were foolish to begin with, modifying their only form of transportation.

Ethan: Were there any other reported break-ins?

Trevor: No, Just the one guy who thought he could do whatever he wanted.

Ethan: What changed when you delivered these engines?

Trevor: I was required to wear a mask, and my boss said I needed to stay 6 feet away from the customer. It wasn’t that hard to do, because most of the deliveries were to other shops where they worked, so they went to the loading docks.

Ethan: What are your thoughts on the leaders of California who put these lockdowns? 

Trevor: They’re hypocrites, and I’m disgusted with them and myself for believing them. Why is our governor out at an expensive restaurant when we’re suffering financially?

Ethan: Do you think we need new leadership given these facts?

Trevor: Oh my lord yes.

Ethan: What’s your opinion on the vaccines being developed and tested?

Trevor: I’m skeptical about some, but remain optimistic.

Ethan: How has business been doing recently as you guys have reopened?

Trevor: We’ve learned how to work around the virus. We’ve always sterilized everything we ship or receive.

Ethan: What’s that process like?

Trevor: We wear gloves and masks when handling equipment, and we have various cleaning products that we use to clean our parts depending on what they are.

Ethan: Why do you have so many cleaning products?

Trevor: I don’t think you would want Lysol in your fuel system do you?

Ethan: Ha ha, I guess not. So we’re getting to the end of the interview, what do you think we can do as individuals to prevent getting the virus?

 

Trevor: Everybody has different ways so I can only speak for myself. I wear a mask when I go anywhere other than work. It’s a family business and we all get tested regularly, so I don’t feel the need to. We also doubled down on disinfecting our work stations, and any customer coming in has to wear a mask.

Trevor was chosen because he was an example of an employee who worked at a small business. He saw first hand the negative effects of the virus in a competitive field.  After the interview, he told me that he went into his college fund that he and his dad worked on just to keep up with the bills, especially since Trevor was in a car accident last August. They were barely recovering from that and the virus hit. Although he is optimistic, he knows that other people are in a far worse position than him. He and other Americans can only hope that this second wave will be over soon, and we can finally have a vaccine that can help us.