MILWAUKEE — Many long-standing businesses are struggling during the coronavirus, but new businesses, ones that opened in 2020, are facing a different set of challenges.
Beyond the general trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur, new business owners have to compete with a severely limited customer base that may be strapped for cash and is told to stay inside.
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RSVR Milwaukee is a virtual reality gaming facility located in Bay View. It doubles as a presentation and development space for people to test the design of something but in virtual reality.
"So it did hit the brakes pretty hard on us to kind of have to shut all that down and lose a little bit of that momentum we were building," owner Ryan Spiering said.
His business is not considered, so he had to close his doors to the public. That was a tough pill to swallow since RSVR Milwaukee had broken even the first few months of business, which is uncommon.
He said he isn't worried about losing the business but said things are tough. Luckily, he was able to contract with an architecture and contracting company that needed to use his virtual reality services to test and view models of portable hospitals meant to be built in areas most hit during the coronavirus.
Tua Pasta is a new make-your-own pasta restaurant at 100 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee. It opened in the middle of January 2020. As our many restaurants, Tua Pasta is facing its fair share of challenges, which are compounded by the issues of a brand new restaurant.
"This is supposed to be the time for restaurants where it starts going up. Especially when it starts warming up, people receive their tax(es) back," Alvaro Nino DeGuzman Jr., a co-owner of the restaurant, said.
Rather than more people venturing to eat out and try a new restaurant with the extra cash in their pocket thanks to the federal government, many are staying inside.
"We're hitting the target of our sales projected, but once (the coronavirus pandemic began), we dropped significantly. Easily more than 50 percent, easily," DeGuzman Jr. said.
With such a steep decline in business, it has become difficult to pay bills.
"Bills, rent, anything that goes in opening a restaurant, a business, it's impossible to pay them because we don't have an input," he said.
H20 Health Hydration Oasis
H20 Health Hydration Oasis offers intravenous (IV) therapy. You can get various nutrient-rich "cocktails" that serve different purposes. Hydration Oasis is considered essential because it provides medical treatment for patients; however, that doesn't mean they haven't been hit hard by the coronavirus.
"It was pretty devastating that we were kind of riding a high, so to speak. We had Dave Chappelle in our office and then boom," Dr. Alia Fox, owner of H20 Health Hydration Oasis, said.
She opened her second location in Milwaukee's Third Ward at the beginning of 2020. The business was going well for her, but once the Stay-At-Home order hit, her business saw a decrease in patients.
However, as people became more conscientious and immune system health, Dr. Fox said she saw an increase in people ordering immune system boosting hydration treatments.
"People are very educated and are about maintaining immunity, so it's not just vitamin C but vitamin D. Your B vitamins. All those things," she said.
These entrepreneurs were already facing difficulties when they opened a new business. Now, they have the coronavirus pandemic to contend with. On the bright side, they are all still open and plan to remain open for the foreseeable future.