Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Damn the Virus! Shuttered Small Businesses May Not Survive the Pandemic, but FCG Will See This Through

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 27, 2020 @ 06: 30 PM



After our three stores were ordered to close on Tuesday, I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. Route 9 in Natick was eerily quiet. Every parking lot on this vital retail corridor was empty. Every store was dark: the music store, the bicycle store, the piano store, the rug merchant. Then, I rounded the corner on Speen Street and caught sight of Home Depot.

Its parking lot was filled with cars. Plenty more were jostling for the occasional empty spot. Dozens of folks streamed in and out of the enormous orange store pushing carts loaded with purchases. Now that everyone has gotten bored with binge-watching cable and raking the lawn, Home Depot is suddenly an exciting getaway.

Damn the virus.

Sure, every resident in the state was ordered to stay at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But it looks to me like everyone has decided to shelter-in-place in Home Depot’s Aisle 7. Because that spare bedroom urgently needs some updating: a coat of paint, a few new lamps, a rug.

Up the road, Walmart also was bustling. America finally has all the time in the world for its favorite sport: shopping. I saw a mom pushing a cart loaded with toys towards her car followed by a pack of rambunctious kids, likely hers and half the neighborhood’s.

Damn the virus!

As a small business owner, I’m aware that the unbridled growth of these two retail giants have proven fatal for millions of small, family businesses like mine. Now that I’ve been sidelined by executive order, I feel something more akin to outrage. I’m watching these big-box retailers rake in the bucks while we, the so-called non-essential businesses, are forced to close our doors.

We family businesses have no choice but to sit, wait and pray for an end to this pandemic. Right now, we’re hoping to re-open in April, but that deadline might well be pushed back until May or June. Some of us may never open our doors again. Others will be forced into bankruptcy, a slower and even more painful death. Fortunately, FCG prepared for the next downturn and we'll see this through, but many have not.

Damn the virus!

Meanwhile, Home Depot and Walmart are likely radioactive with infection. Flattening the curve? More like fattening the curve at the same time they are fattening their cash registers. Walmart, Dollar General and other chain stores say they need to hire hundreds of thousands of workers to meet the demand of shoppers. How many of the employees I was forced to lay off will they poach before this is over?

Damn the virus!

Governor, on behalf of all family businesses deemed non-essential, I make a plea. If these big-box stores are allowed to remain open, they should follow protocol to limit the possibility of spreading disease. Among other things, that means outfitting their workers in protective gear and limiting the numbers of shoppers allowed in the store at one time. Shoppers should be required to wear masks and latex gloves.

Heck, Governor, I think you should level the playing field even more to preserve the financial health of sidelined small businesses. Why not limit the sales of non-essential products? Is it worth risking the health of this great state so bored folks can tackle their home-improvement projects or fill the toy box? Make it safe to shop and you will flatten the curve.

Damn the virus.