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Small businesses, big losses: Store owners determining best ways to help employees & bounce back from coronavirus

Owning a small business can be tough, period. During the coronavirus outbreak - entrepreneurs are finding it even more difficult to stay afloat.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — To close - or not to close? It's a question weighing on the minds of many small business owners, as shoppers are told to stay home and stay away from crowds. 

David Leipziger owns Customs Caps, Shirts & More - a longtime embroidery business inside the Four Seasons Town Centre. Normally, he and employees have no problem making money this time of year as many order custom pieces for everything from ball games to graduations. 

"I’ve been through some of the financial crises before but nothing like this obviously," he said Wednesday. 

For now, his shop is staying open - but it's far from business as usual. 

"We’re not really doing much," Leipziger said, "We'll get the occasional call or customer. But I’m trying to stay open, not really for me but for my employees. I’ve haven’t let anybody go right now until we know what happens, but I’ve reduced the staffing 75 percent, as far as the hours go."

Despite a mostly empty mall, he hopes just a few sales can cover payroll. 

"I'm trying to help them as much as I can during this time," he explained, "I'm a small business, I don't have deep pockets. I can't pay for them to be here when we're not here."

Across town, the owner of Cozy Calla Lily Boutique decided closing in-store sales was the best course of action - pushing customers to buy from the website or during live sales on Facebook. 

"We're just to make you have something to look forward to," said Melaine Barilla-Gottfried, "Make yourself feel beautiful, give you a sense of peace. Something in the mail that you could look forward to because this is going to be a little while."

She says, there's always some risk opening a small business, but no one could have prepared her or any other entrepreneur for this. 

"You always have to kind of be prepared. You have to have a plan in place. So, we have a few months contingency, of course, but going further than that, it can get a little scary," Barilla-Gottfried said, "You really got to think local at this point because the last thing do you want to have - a huge town with nothing around you."

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