For Myriam Simpierre, her new grocery store, Buy Better Foods, was the realization of a dream years in the making, but launching a new business during a pandemic wasn't exactly the plan.
"It was a bit challenging in terms of opening,” said Simpierre. “The initial launch was supposed to [be] March, but we delayed a month to finally open April 2.”
Stocking the shelves of Buy Better Foods during the lockdown meant competing with the big chains.
"They had priority over small businesses, so I, along with other small businesses, were … missing shipments."
So far, Simpierre says there hasn't been much help for new small businesses like hers.
"Because I was a new business and I was not established in terms of having revenue from last year, I was turned down for a lot of the loans the government says was available for new businesses,” said Simpierre.
The workshops she planned to hold at Buy Better Foods to educate her Bedford Stuyvesant neighbors will have to wait until the pandemic is under control.
She's turning to social media to help spread the word about her new space, trying anything to drum up business and stay afloat, but she hopes policymakers consider business owners like her when they're coming up with strategies to keep mom and pop stores alive.
"Whether you opened last year, whether you just opened, we all need help,” said Simpierre.
Four months in, It's been a rocky start, but Simpierre says she's remaining optimistic that this is the beginning of what will be a thriving business, despite the challenges.
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