COVID-19 restrictions force military veteran to close candy shop
Small business owners push back on coronavirus lockdowns
Former U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman comments on how American business owners are struggling amid strict lockdowns.
Gate City Candy Co. owner and Army veteran Daniel Weatherington was forced to close the doors of his Greensboro, North Carolina, small business due to COVID-19, according to local reports.
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Weatherington opened the candy shop in April 2019, but changing restrictions related to the pandemic, as well as damage caused by riots following George Floyd's May 25 death, made it impossible for his store to stay open, the Greensboro News & Record reported Wednesday.
"The first year was awesome," Weatherington told the outlet. "But from March 2020 to now it’s been terrible."
The veteran was a bail bond agent for 11 years before opening the candy store, which had been his dream since he was a child.
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"Between coronavirus, the riots downtown .. .shootings downtown, aggressive panhandling — everything that’s going on that’s getting people not to be downtown — that's what’s killed the business," Weatherington said, according to the News & Record.
Weatherington told Spectrum News 1 that his attempts to call police during riots were ineffective because it took them "hours" to arrive.
"Whether they sent one officer or they sent 50, it didn't matter. Just send somebody down here to help me, and I couldn't get it, so I was on my own," he said.
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Just before Christmas, Weatherington said he only had about 10% of his stock left to sell. Weatherington started a GoFundMe page in June with the goal of reaching $10,000 to help save businesses in downtown Greensboro after the area was damaged during riots, but he was only able to reach about half that amount.
"On Saturday and Sunday night, downtown Greensboro [was] damaged by rioters. Some businesses lost almost everything," he wrote. "All the money raised will go to the repairs of our doors, windows, and interior buildings. Also to help recover some of the cost of stolen inventory."
He added on his fundraiser page that COVID-19 caused most businesses in the area to "shut down" for nearly two months. When businesses reopened, they were "destroyed" by rioters.
The small-business owner now plans to move to Utah, according to the News & Observer.
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"I’m going to miss the customers, I’m going to miss the community," Weatherington told the outlet. "I live downtown, I own a business downtown, I love downtown, but it’s just not there anymore."
The Senate on Dec. 22 passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, which included an additional $284 billion in federal, forgivable loans for small and medium-sized businesses.
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