Rhinebeck Small Business Survey

Rhinebeck Small Business Survey Documents Pandemic-induced Pain And Need for More Financial Aid

June 12: A new economic survey documents the challenge facing small businesses in the Hudson Valley town of Rhinebeck, New York as stores slowly re-open in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Particularly hard hit is the Village center, Rhinebeck’s economic anchor, renowned for its fine restaurants, independent specialty shops, spas, yoga studios, art galleries, a fine arts cinema, and the oldest continuously operating inn in the U.S. The survey found that some 15% of Rhinebeck businesses may not reopen.

Businesses report mounting debt, plummeting earnings, and employee layoffs. Rent is a chronic concern, yet, according to the survey, 72% of business tenants have secured no rent relief from their landlords. 

The survey was conducted during the last two weeks in May by, Rhinebeck Responds, in collaboration with the Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce. The report analyzing the results was written by Vassar Sociologist Leonard Nevarez.  Of the 247 businesses contacted by email, 65 businesses located in Rhinebeck completed the survey —  an impressive response  rate of 26%.

Key findings are:

 

  • Steep Drop in Sales and Revenue:  Business income was down 50% in March, 70% in April, and 65% in May, compared to the same months in 2019. 
  • Increased Debt: During the pandemic, 59% of businesses incurred up to $10,000 in unpaid bills and/or debt; another 34% have acquired between $10,000 and $50,000 in new debt.
  • 8 in 10 Expect Recovery Will Take One to Two Years: 42% estimated that business recovery  will take about one year, another 40% think recovery will take up to two years.
  • Two-thirds Received Federal Support: 67% of businesses responding to the survey secured federal PPP (Payroll Protection Program) assistance.

 

  • 9 in 10 Need More Financial Assistance:  Even with the PPP support, 92% expressed interest in seeking additional aid through grants or loans.

In response to these needs, two local programs have been established to support local businesses in Rhinebeck:  A Small Business Grant Program, providing up to $5,000 per business, has been developed by Rhinebeck Responds in partnership with the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.  A 0% interest loan program (with loans up to $25,000) has been established at the Hebrew Free Loan Society with support from The Change Reaction.

Information on the two support programs is available at: 

For the Rhinebeck Responds Small Business Grant Program see:
https://rhinebeckresponds.org/small-grants-fund-to-aid-small-business/

For The Change Reaction 0% Loan Program at the Hebrew Free Loan Society see: https://www.tfaforms.com/4824201