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FGCU studying impacts of COVID-19 on small business

Businesses across the country are closing their doors, but we won’t know the long-term impact for a while.

Florida Gulf Coast University is trying to get a picture of the effect COVID-19 is having on business.

Warren Frye owns two Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Cape Coral.

“We’ve had to lay off the majority of our staff and it’s horrible,” he said.

To help out his community and employees, his locations are now selling grocery items in bulk, one of many businesses facing change in light of the coronavirus.

FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business is surveying Southwest Florida businesses to see how they’re adjusting and coping.

“Traditionally, most jobs come from Main Street, they don’t come from Wall Street,” said Dr. Christopher Westley, dean of Lutgert College of Business.

“Coronavirus has especially adversely affected small business in the region relative to large ones.”

Westley said it’s because smaller businesses don’t have the same resources as larger ones.

“One of the questions was, ‘Do you have a disaster plan?’ and of course, small businesses were more likely to say no or we were working on one.”

In the meantime, Frye said, “it’s just not a pleasant situation, but we’re doing the best we can and we’re going to get through this.”

One of the goals is for the Lutgert College of Business to compare findings from the end of March to April, May and June of this year.

If needed, the study may go through the end of 2020.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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