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Restaurant owner shares difficulty of owning a business amidst the coronavirus pandemic

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Los Compadres Mexican Grill closed its lobby to the public amidst the coronavirus pandemic and has since needed to adjust its accommodations to better serve its customers.

The owner, Carlos Renteria, says before the pandemic struck he had a healthy business and close to 22 employees working for him, now he’s down to two.

“I think the most difficult part has been laying off our team members. We have a pretty big tie between all of our team members, all of our staff,” said Renteria. “It’s kind of like a family, away from family and having to say, ‘hey, you know, I’m sorry but I don’t have a job for you anymore,’ It really, really put a damper.”

Renteria says he’s now leaning on his family members for help during these trying times.

“My brothers helped out from time to time,” added Renteria.

Renteria opened his restaurant almost four years ago. He says the uncertainty of this pandemic is concerning.

“It’s very alarming for me to say, you know, working on my restaurant, as a self-employed for the past four years, might be coming to an end because of COVID-19.”

Renteria has tried to apply for an SBA loan to help alleviate some of the economic burden, but like many, he’s experienced a never-ending wait time.

“Their website was down for last week, I think it was jammed with everyone trying to submit applications for SBA loans and whatnot,” said Renteria.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce says they are providing an abundance of resources for many small businesses in the area.

“A lot of local business groups including law firms and accounting firms have been providing webinars on a regular basis,” said President and CEO of Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce Gary Plummer. “Most of what we’ve been able to do is connect those resources to thousands of small business people in our region through a website that we created,”

The website, wichitachamber.org/covid-19, provides loan guidance, resources to grants and free online webinars.

For more information about the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce click here.

For more information on SBA loans click here.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act: https://www.wichitachamber.org/clientuploads/COVID-19/F2CF1DD78E6D6C8C8C3BF58C6D1DDB2B.small-business-owner-s-guide-to-the-cares-act-final-_(002).pdf

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Wichita Community Foundation Emergency Fund: https://wichitacf.org/nonprofits/grants/available-funding/emergency-fund

Center for Disease Control Communication Resources: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/

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