Bouncing Back: What the coronavirus pandemic means for Northeast Wisconsin’s businesses


BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) — De Pere’s Pedretti Power Yoga announced last week that they won’t be reopening after the Safer at Home order is lifted, a fate officials say could be awaiting small businesses across the state.

“About 35 percent of the businesses that responded had said that if we’re in this same situation for three months, knowing we’re a month into it already, they probably will not survive,” NEW North Executive Director Barb Lamue said of a survey conducted by her agency.

The NEW North survey looked at 2,500 businesses in 63 counties.

Related: UW-Oshkosh, New North survey of Wisconsin businesses shows 35% say they’ll be forced to close if pandemic conditions persist

It was conducted earlier this month, which means those businesses may have already adapted.

“Have people been able to figure out a little more about how to get to their customers in more remote ways than they ever have?” Lamue pondered.

Even with businesses adjusting to fit the parameters of the Safer at Home order, the Coronavirus pandemic has lead to about 8,800 jobs lost in the state and about $27 million in lost wages.

“That does have a trickle-down effect as to how people can regenerate that spending into their local economy,” Lamue said.

Local talent managment firm the H.S. Group conducted their own survey of 120 area companies, a majority of those being larger employers.

35% of responses were from companies with 251-1000 employees, and approximately 32% employ more than 1,000.

“We know there’s been some hard-hit sectors, like the bars and restaurants for example,” Joey Leonard, President of the H.S. Group said, “but there are many sectors that are still hiring, maybe just in a different way.”

Jobs are available, they’re just not necessarily in the same fields as jobs lost.

“areas such as manufacturing, construction, transportation, healthcare, insurance, financial services, those are some of the companies that said they were hiring,” Leonard said.

Companies like Roehl Transport are hiring despite the pandemic.

“We are looking to hire 250 truck drivers within the state of Wisconsin,” Tim Norlin, Vice President of Driver Employment at Roehl Transport told Local 5.

Those larger employers are looking to hire, but for small businesses, the clock is ticking.

“the sooner we can get businesses reopened in a fashion that they were accustom to before, the quicker we’re gonna bounce back,” Lamue said.

In the long term, bouncing back requires health risks to lower.

“What we don’t want to have happen is we end up in September and October, we’re back in this situation,” Lamue explained, “and it’s ever worse than it is today, and then companies are shut down for months on end.”


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