Survey shows Dublin businesses report pandemic still taking its toll

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com
Dr. Marie Hoying adjusts niece Rayna Hoying's upper spine in December, when Rayna was about 3 months old. Hoying, who has a private chiropractic practice, said she had a few new patients in late March and early April but saw an influx in May.

Results from a new survey of city businesses by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce shows many businesses say they are still hurting from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the chamber's online business-impact survey from May 28 to June 10, 46.7% of respondents stated they are experiencing significant losses.

"That is really concerning to me," said Jenny Amorose, the chamber's chief operating officer.

That is nearly the same result from the chamber's first survey, conducted March 18-25. In that survey, 46% of respondents said they were experiencing significant losses.

There were 282 responses to the first survey and 215 for the second survey, Amorose said.

Businesses of various types and sizes responded to the latest survey.

The pandemic significantly has affected operations or supply chains negatively for 35% of the respondents, and 24.3% said they anticipated slower sales in the next 30 days.

However, a majority of respondents -- 56.1% -- said they did not lay off or furlough employees.

Tom McKeever, owner of three Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea locations, said he did have to furlough some staff, and not all of them have yet returned to work.

McKeever's cafe locations include the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 4587 Bridge Park Ave. in Dublin's Bridge Street District, and 8938 Lyra Drive at the Pointe at Polaris in north Columbus.

The library cafe offers carryout only; the Bridge Park and Polaris locations have carryout and limited indoor and outdoor seating, McKeever said.

He said a lack of office and commuter business has affected both his Bridge Park and Polaris locations, as has a slow hotel business.

Still, he said, his Bridge Park location has benefited from visitors to Dublin's new pedestrian bridge, the Dublin Link.

"We've been very fortunate in that regard," he said.

Dr. Marie Hoying, who has a private chiropractic practice at 6245 Emerald Parkway, said she had few new patients throughout the end of March and into April.

In May, however, she had an influx of new patients, which she attributes to the stress associated with the pandemic and the considerable amount of sitting many people have been doing.

"Because we are considered essential and because we have had a large base of patients prior to this pandemic happening, the amount of business that we got over the last few months did not drastically affect us, like it has some other businesses," Hoying said. "We are extremely fortunate in that sense."

Amorose said whereas businesses were quick to institute remote work for employees, they are much slower about getting employees back into their buildings. Larger facilities often take longer to do this than smaller ones, she said.

Some businesses are opening with a skeleton crew in buildings, and others are not planning to bring anyone back until Labor Day or later, she said.

The chamber will likely do a third survey in late fall, she said.

She said the community members have come together to try to help one another during the pandemic.

Even though it's a difficult time, "the resilience of our business community is amazing," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah