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PRATT — The coronavirus disease has become more than a health concern to many Pratt residents. Some small businesses — like Balloons and More, Inc., Busy B Bakery and Evergreen Inn — are taking hits in the pocketbook.
“I’m doing everything I can to stay in business,” Balloons and More owner Tonja Harrison said. “I’ve marked down part of our inventory 50 percent to help customers with budgets and to help keep our doors open. I even had to lay off an employee.”
Harrison said she feels her services, like delivering balloon bouquets, are especially important in uncertain times.
“Kids need some normality,” Harrison said. “They need to be able to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays.”
The prospect of availability of loans to small businesses is not a solution that eases Harrison’s mind.
“How am I going to pay it back?” Harrison asked.
Brandie Cupples, who opened Busy B Bakery in the Parrish hotel at Third and Jackson in January, remains optimistic, despite her loss of business.
With schools not in session, Cupples said she’s missing the business of students who had become regular customers.
Cupples said she is still taking orders for birthday or “just because” cakes.
Cupples said Busy B soup lunches will continue and takeout orders area also available. Bread and cookies continue to be popular, even in these uncertain times.
She recently tried marketing a cookie decorating pack and sold out within hours, so she may try that again. It seems to have been a popular idea with parents needing a project for their students at home.
Cupples said she plans to keep baking for customers, unless a mandatory shutdown is ordered.
“Pratt’s a good community. We’ll make it,” Cupples said.
Evergreen Motel & RV Park on the western outskirts of Pratt is also being heavily impacted, said owner-operators Larry and Lynn Kahmeyer.
“It’s rough, the coronarius has had a pretty profound impact on our business,” Larry said. “Almost all of our reservations have called and canceled.”
Evergreen Motel has 16 rooms, plus a train caboose that has been converted as a guest room. The RV park has 25 spaces.
His main concern is how long the threat continues, because fixed expenses do continue.
“I wouldn’t put a rosy picture on it,” Kahmeyer said.