Local guitar shop looks for ways to change business with COVID-19 restrictions

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Business in Blackstone has been sparse since the pandemic started. As stores close their doors, others are changing the way they do business. One owner is figuring out how to do that while making rent.

Image Source: MGN

Ground Floor Guitar has called Blackstone home for four years.

"Normally this would be fully lined with cars and parking would be terrible,” said John Svatos.

And foot traffic would be rocking for the owner, employee John Svatos, but the pandemic has forced him to rethink his business strategy-- how to sell pristine guitars and other items perfect for playing at home in isolation.

"While people are stuck at home on their phone more than they would be during the day is making sure I provide way more social media content. Facebook, Instagram all that stuff,” said Svatos.

More and more customers started leaving their instruments for John to repair, knowing they'll be home for a while. But once these cases are fixed and sent home, there's no telling how many others will come in the door.

"My concern is more or less what's going to happen in the next four to five weeks. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to survive with just doing either repair work and once I eliminate foot traffic. it makes me a little bit concerned about what's going to… how, well, bills can be paid without that huge moneymaker on Saturday mornings,” said Svatos.

Ground Floor Guitar, neighboring businesses, and their neighborhood association are riffing around ideas on a solution to keep everyone afloat.

“The business owners and developers from this neighborhood have really reached out to try and provide a lot of the small businesses with either some form of rent relief or grant money to help float a couple of bills coming up. We're kind of working out those details,” said Svatos.

For now, Svatos and others in Blackstone ask for your continued support to keep them strumming along through the uncertainty.

“We have to wait it out. Once the neighborhood can fill up again and those businesses can reopen, I can guarantee that we'll get the foot traffic back,” said Svatos."I'm lucky because this is a business where we provide something to do while people are stuck at home."

One of the options a small business can pursue is an SBA economic injury disaster loans. These types of loans offer low-interest rates and long term repayment options.