According to Yelp, 60 percent of businesses have been forced to close and have been unable to reopen due to the pandemic. This includes many businesses in Oklahoma struggling to bounce back amid a third wave of COVID-19.
Tuesday, Norman city councilman Joe Carter told a personal story about his sister, Valarie.
“I want to tell you a story about a lady who was an addict for 20 years. Spent a year in rehab,” Carter told his fellow councilmembers. “Got a job. Worked for a business for three years. Ended up buying that business eight years ago. She closed her doors at the end of October.”
“It was devastating,” Valarie said. “When we got a little paycheck protection program grant, it barely covered payroll and rent for one month and we’re going on eight months now. It just wasn’t enough.”
After putting out a plea for help in September, Valarie told News 9 she was hopeful she would be able to keep here tanning and fitness center open.
“I believe that we will come close, if not succeed, in our goal of staying open through this,” she said. “We just don’t know when it’s going to end.”
Valarie said she decided early to keep the shops’ five employees working.
“We closed and they cleaned everything top to bottom, front to back. They were there every day, just cleaning getting ready to comply with CDC guidelines.”
In the face of closing up shop and selling equipment off piece by piece, Valarie said there was a silver lining. A woman offered to buy the business to keep it open.
“If it weren’t for financial distress, we would not have sold,” she said. “If it were not for the pandemic, we would not have sold. It’s bittersweet.”
Employees at Tan'N Tone & More said under new owners, they’ve been able to keep the prices and hours the same.