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Local small businesses already feeling the pain from coronavirus, but there's help

Cupcake shop offering free delivery
Three Girls Cupcakes in Berea
Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 19:42:41-04

BEREA, Ohio — Their inventory is shrinking and so is their customer base.

"I think the reason people are staying away is just the fear of what if. I think a lot of people want to protect their families,” said Maria Brenders.

Because the coronavirus is keeping folks indoors, Brenders, the owner of Three Girls Cupcake Shoppe (https://www.threegirlscupcakeshoppe.com) in Berea, says she’s lost about 50 percent of her sales.

"Tuesday I had 11 sales, Wednesday I had 10 sales,” she Brenders.

She says she’s not alone, lots of local businesses are being hit and have to find ways to keep their doors open.

Brenders is now offering free delivery for all orders over $20.

"We know people are scared to come out, we know they still want to help us and for those who just can’t make it to the bakery in our community, we’re going to come to them,” she said.

There might be some relief for business owners like Brenders. A local non-profit is stepping in to help with some of the losses.

"It’s heart wrenching, it's affecting all of us and if we have the ability to do something to elevate it we just felt we had to,” said Michal Marcus.

Marcus is the executive director of HFLA Northeast Ohio (https://interestfree.org), or the Hebrew Free Loan Association. They give out interest-free loans to people in need, and you don’t have to be Jewish to get help.

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"We’re offering right now an emergency expedited interest free loan up to $1,500,” said Marcus.

The loans are designed to help folks affected by the coronavirus, parents who can’t afford daycare now that schools are closed, hourly workers whose employer was forced to shut down, and business owners who are losing revenue because folks are hunkering down.

"It’s so meaningful to help people and these aren’t people that want a handout, these are people that want to help themselves,” she Marcus.

Marcus says their phones haven’t stopped ringing and they are looking for additional funders so they won’t have to turn folks away.

"Unfortunately just not knowing what’s going to happen, we could reach that,” said Marcus.

Speaking of good deeds, despite Brenders own worries, she’s started collecting food for families struggling now that schools are closed.

"If there’s just one thing we can do to help them elevate that stress then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Brenders.

To apply for an interest free loan through HFLA for Coronavirus related hardships, call their Beachwood office (216) 378-9042 or send them an email team@interestfree.org for an application.

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