Essential Businesses Say There's Some Struggle Amid Outbreak

"I'm open, but is it worth being open?"

Brendan Keany
March 30, 2020 - 8:55 am
Bison Automotive

Courtesy of Bison Automotive


BUFFALO (WBEN) - As numerous businesses across New York State that have had to shut down completely, or at least move their workforce to a 100 percent work from home format, some of the businesses deemed essential by the state are still struggling.

Bob Gugino of Bison Automotive said he was initially thrilled that his repair and detail shop was considered to be essential, but as the past two weeks have rolled along, he's noticed some difficulties.

"As it's been going on, we've been finding out that business is not so good," said Gugino. "It's really kind of slow - people are kind of just hunkering down in their houses, and we don't see a lot of activity out there with people having problems with their cars."

Gugino brought up a fair question...with so much of the economy shut down and leading health officials warning the public to stay in their houses, is this a viable model for these so-called essential businesses to remain open? Gugino isn't so sure.

"I'm open, but is it worth being open?" he wondered. "Because I'm small and can self-contain a little bit, I can sustain myself and be here for my customers, but there are several of my peer who have closed because they were unable to do that. We're a little more diverse with the AAA, the detailing and the repair, so I'm able to sublet that around in the shop to be able to get it so that I can hold my own by my fingernails hopefully for the next few weeks until something changes."

Listen to Gugino's full comments below:

David Even serves as the vice president of Arthur's True Value hardware in Orchard Park, and he said business has been sort of inconsistent, and he also noted that customer confusion has been a problem.

"It will be very hit or miss - we'll have a day where it's pretty slow, and then the next day it will be crazy busy - people buying paints, other essential products like power equipment, chainsaws, etc., so it's really hit or miss depending on the day," he said. "It's very interesting for us because our furniture store is non-essential, so they're closed, but out hardware and service are (open), so if you need to have something fixed, we can fix it for you. So, it's definitely that 'we're open, but we're not open'...but hardware and service are definitely open, and we're here every day."

Listen to Even's full comments below:

While much of banking can now be done online or at an ATM, the branches themselves have undergone plenty of changes as people are adhering to new social distancing guidelines. Nick Snyder of Evan's Bank says the bank is offering much of the same everyday services to customers, but there are some caveats.

"We've had to go to a drive-thru only mode, so those branches that have drive-thrus are open normal business hours," said Snyder. "Our lobbies are closed to the public except for appointment only."

Of course, all three men say extra precautions have been taken at their places of businesses to ensure the safety of both customers and employees, including increased attention to sanitation.

Listen to Snyder's full comments below:

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