Garner small business owner eager to reopen after COVID-19 spoils grand opening

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Money is running out for Jessica Throneburg's business and many small businesses like hers. Federal relief dollars have run dry, at least at this point, so they see reopening the state's economy as their only hope.

"A lot of people are being impacted by this disease, but far more people are being impacted by this economy," Throneburg said.

RELATED: Gov. Cooper outlines how NC would reopen economy, lift social distancing restrictions amid COVID-19 pandemic

It's been a little over a month since Throneburg opened up the Little Details boutique in Garner. The store is 5,500 square feet of clothing and gifts - four times as large as her original store. She had high hopes at her March 7 grand opening. Then, came COVID-19.

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"We literally had one week that we were able to serve the public with no restrictions on our store. And then we had to restrict the number of people we let in. And then we had to close," she said.

Thursday evening at the White House, President Donald Trump rolled out his plan to "reopen" the American economy...

"Our country has suffered. The world has suffered," Trump said. "Therefore my administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states."

Meantime, Throneburg struggles to keep head above water. She says she has not received her federal stimulus check and was in the process of applying for a small business loan through the Paycheck Protection Program when PPP hit its $350 billion dollar limit.

As she holds out hope that the doors of Little Details will be back open soon, Throneburg still wonders whether her business will be able to survive the new rules of the new normal.

"As far as checking (people's) temperatures, having gloves, having medical grade masks -- those are things I think a lot of businesses will struggle to find," Throneburg said. "It's a catch-22 right now as to whether or not we reopen."

While she waits for word on what the state's reopening will look like, Throneburg has been using her shuttered business to do some good during the pandemic. She opened up the parking lot of Little Details as a curbside food pantry for needy residents in a partnership with Hope Community Church.
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