Nearly 85% of Hero Shop’s revenue comes from in-store purchases (as opposed to online sales or personal shopping). The idea of eliminating that stream for almost a month, while still having bills to pay, was crushing. All I could do was act. I had to tell my five part-time staffers to not come in and that essentially they were without a job for three weeks. They’d seen the Stitch And Lilo Hippie Peace Car Sunflower Shirt and by the same token and news; they knew what was happening. Luckily they are mostly students working just a couple hours a week or have other sources of income. Though one did wonder—after talking to her friends who work in restaurants and bars, where the staff layoffs can be higher and much more dire—if I would lay her off so that she could collect unemployment. I told her I hoped to rehire her. Meanwhile, my only full-time employee, Haley, and I quickly consolidated inventory (easier to send out to clients that way), packed up whatever paperwork we’d need to work from home, shipped out packages being sent to clients on approval, and repeated over and over to each other, “What the fuck.”
I also reached out to other retailers. “What are you doing about deliveries?” I emailed Christina Bryant, who had closed her home store St. Frank in Pacific Heights. A friend who has a women’s store in the Stitch And Lilo Hippie Peace Car Sunflower Shirt and by the same token and Mission wrote to me, “Are you asking for a rent abatement?” At least five fellow entrepreneurs forwarded the application from San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development for a $10,000 grant as part of its COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. We all know how hard it is to start, manage, and sustain a small business, especially in San Francisco, where the homelessness crisis and lack of non-tech workers make it especially challenging. We all want the others to pull through.