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Downtown Asheville businesses lose hundreds of employees because of pandemic

Downtown Asheville businesses lose hundreds of employees because of pandemic
A survey from the Asheville Business Association show the COVID-19 pandemic has caused revenue and job losses, taking several businesses to the brink of closure. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Locked doors, empty chairs and slow days for retail stores have become the norm for numerous downtown Asheville businesses.

A survey from the Asheville Business Association analyzed responses from 93 downtown business owners. Responses show the COVID-19 pandemic has caused revenue and job losses, taking several businesses to the brink of closure.

Seventeen owners indicated they’re on the verge of permanent closure, two have already closed or relocated, while 74 business owners said they are holding on as the pandemic drones on.

CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION CENTER: TRACK THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, IMPACTS, AND HEADLINES ABOUT THE PANDEMIC HERE

Hazel Twenty owner Lexi Deyiso is among those planning to stick it out.

“I’m in it for the long-haul and just trusting and hoping that we’re going to have a profound rebound," she said.

Likewise, Tops for Shoes owner Alex Carr said he’s learned to adjust to the unpredictability of this period but is looking forward to the summer.

"I think things are going to continue to get better, but I don’t think the end is in sight," Carr said.

17 DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE BUSINESSES IN DANGER OF CLOSING BECAUSE OF PANDEMIC, SURVEY SHOWS

Combined, the 93 businesses that participated in the survey reported job cuts resulting in the loss of 261 full-time employees, 216 part-time employees and 32 contract workers. The survey also showed 50% of the businesses are tracking yearly revenue losses of 20%- 60%.

The Asheville Downtown Association is encouraging businesses to apply for federal assistance or funding from One Buncombe.

Asheville Business Association survey results:

Downtown Business Impact

  • 17 considering closure
  • 74 plan to remain open
  • 2 permanently closed or moved

Job Loss

  • 261 full-time positions
  • 216 Part- time positions
  • 32 contract positions

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