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Some small businesses remaining open during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 22:16:40-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As businesses are closing across the state due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, some stores are staying open to customers.

"We're trying to spread the word that small businesses are open for business," said Sharon Hansen, the co-owner of Nothing Bundt Cake in Omaha. "We're trying to keep as many hours for us right now."

Hansen said her four stores are remaining open for seven days a week and are still employing 90 staff members. Her stores are now offering curbside pickup and a lengthened delivery schedule to help offset a decrease in business they've experienced over the last week.

"It's definitely down, I would say in the neighborhood of 50 percent," Hansen said.

As people are staying inside and not shopping, Hansen is looking at ways to keep cash flow coming in.

"We're looking for everybody to give that immediate transaction," Hansen said.

However, while a lot of organizations, including the Nebraska Restaurant Association, are urging people to purchase gift cards to help out small businesses during the work closures, some believe there are better ways for people to help out businesses.

"They would have cash available to pay for other expenses perhaps, ongoing overhead but in the future when they provide the goods or services they may have already spent the cash," said Jeff Schnathorst, a certified public accountant in Omaha. "They'll recognize the revenue when they provide the goods and service."

A gift card is basically a small loan to a company, which the company can use to cover expenses. However, the company needs to have the cash available when a person wants to use their gift card. If they don't have the money available, the business is liable for the transaction. Most companies count a gift card as a liability and not as revenue until the gift card is spent.

Small businesses recommend patrons to make in-store purchases and order pickups and delivery instead.

"If you come in and I'm open and I can shop, get the cash and recognize the revenue, what that cash provides me is the profit," Schnathorst said.

"I think to help small businesses locally if you actually make a purchase you're keeping the staff immediately," Hansen said.

If you want to see what businesses are open in Omaha, click on the link.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman's story in the above video.