Small businesses in downtown Fort Myers weighing options amid coronavirus-stunted economy

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
(WINK News)

Small businesses in downtown Fort Myers are sitting empty with the situation forcing at least one owner to close her doors permanently, while others weigh their options.

Green Cup Cafe owner Karolina Vaickute said she closed her doors when it became clear all she would do is lose money.

I would say the first week of March, March 8th, I marked it in my calendar. We saw sales decline,” she said.

Vaickute said state or federal loans don’t guarantee success, so she does not plan to reopen.

“Taking it through a time of uncertainty, through several months of trying to operate at a minimum, trying to shift our service paradigm to just stay open, it would be extremely difficult for me,” she said.

Down the street is Martin Drexler, the owner of Wise Guys. He’s trying to make it through these tough times and hopes the state’s Bridge Loan Program gives him the boost he needs.

“I’m only looking for the minimal to help me with the rent, utilities, get a loan and maybe buy a little food while we are still open serving just a few people,” he said.

But Florence Del Fondo says she has to do her homework. She wants to make sure she doesn’t mortgage the future of La Macaron French Pastries.

“What are the conditions and how it works because you don’t want to have to end up reimbursing a loan if you don’t know how it works,” she said.

Del Fondo said after the governor’s order, she made the decision to close starting Thursday at noon until further notice but plans to later reopen.

So Wise Guys will remain open and La Macaron will close just for now while the owner of Green Cup Cafe gets ready for a new chapter.

Vaickute said she plans to donate the food she has on hand to the Harry Chapin Food Bank and her cleaning and sanitary supplies to Lee Health.

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