Cares Act giving small business owners hope

Humphammers has been in business for 35 years. / Source: WVLT News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Small businesses all over the United States have closed their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Humphammer's Market and Deli in Powell is trying to stay afloat.

Jerry (Hump) Neely has owned and operated Humphammer's for 35 years. These last couple of weeks is the emptiest he has seen the place since it opened, but call in and to-go orders are keeping the bills paid.

"It sort of pumps you up a little bit, said Neely. "It makes it easier to be optimistic, I guess, and it's just a good feeling knowing people appreciate what you're doing."

Hump hopes to stay open through this pandemic, and long after it passes.

"I'm sure a lot of people make a lot more money doing something else, but I don't know if they'd still look forward to doing it after thirty-five years, and I wish I had thirty-five more," he said.

If small businesses are struggling to pay the bills and/or employees, the Cares Act, which passed on March 30, can provide temporary aid.

"If you're a freelancer, if you're a business of one-like a consultant, said The University of Tennessee's Haslam adjunct Haseeb Qureshi. "If you have 10-99 income, you can also get a loan and that loan can go towards paying you payroll costs, which is essentially your living costs as a business owner."

The UT expert said it's small businesses like Humphammer's that keep the economy going.

"If you go around town, you're going to talk to more people who have smaller businesses," said Qureshi. "It's not like you're talking to the CEO of Pilot or the larger businesses. The very stitch in community, the culture of what we experience here in Knoxville, Tennessee, any of our community, it's small business."

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