Property manager works with Wakefield Crossing tenants to soften the economic blow of COVID-19

Like so many others, the Wakefield Crossing shopping center is a ghost town. Thankfully the building is owned by someone who is local and is willing to work with the small business owners to get them through what is a really tough time.

"You can't go from a 100 miles per hour to zero miles per hour in any business. I mean our revenue completely stopped," Raleigh Furniture Gallery owner Kevin Mayeu said.

Raleigh Furniture Gallery has been closed over a month now. Mayeu worked out a deal to relieve some of the pressure of rent payments.

"At this point is temporary relief with the potential of becoming permanent relief depending on how bad the circumstances get."

The manager of the property Zach Fisher owns or manages 19 properties in the area. He's not only working with owners on relief, he's also guiding tenants through the complicated government loan process. Many businesses are sole proprietorship's with no employees - translation -- even if they get money it won't be much.

"They are the employee of their own business. That payroll number is whatever they made at the end of the year and a lot of these folks don't make a lot of money. So this PPP fund is only $5,000 and that's for two months of lost business." Fisher said.

Inquiring about the first round of funding today, one of Fishers tenant's received this message about the Small Business Administration portal being overrun: "No guarantees" that the application will be approved and there is no way to tell when the SBA will get to it before the funds run out again. Fisher said the process has been frustrating for everyone involved.

"There were no rules in place written. It was a great idea, let's give funds to people to recover but there has been a lot of confusion from both the tenant side and the lender about how to apply and what's eligible and what isn't eligible," Fisher said.

Mayeu just received his small amount of PPP money and points out that it's a loan, he'll have to repay at some point (or at least a portion of it). This 9-year-old business could take a long time to recover once it's open again.

"We don't know when we are going to have people coming back into the store. To get back to the numbers that we had pre-COVID, that's going to be six months, a year, two years, I don't know," Mayeu said.
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