Survey Reveals Westchester Businesses Anxious About Survival, Frustrated Over Fed Loan Process

Real Estate In-Depth | April 2020

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester County Office of Economic Development released the results of a survey on April 29 that showed county businesses are highly anxious about their survival and frustrated with the process of applying for COVID-19 financial assistance.

The survey respondents also indicated they are looking for county government and local Chambers to be their advocates as they struggle though the Coronavirus crisis.

The survey, which was sent to the County Economic Development Office’s e-mail list as well as to all the chambers, received more than 700 responses. It was also sent out by the Business Council of Westchester. Today Media and the Westchester County Business Journal.

“The results of this survey clearly show that the Westchester business community is struggling to survive during this crippling economic downturn and needs help,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “This survey provides the county with valuable information on what services and assistance these companies need to remain in business as our economy recovers from the pandemic.”

Some of the key survey findings include:

• 58% said that they will lose 75-100% of their revenue as a result of COVID. However, 56% said they have not let anyone go as of the date of the survey.

• More than half of the businesses in the survey were from retail, personal services, administrative and professional services. 60% are either solo Entrepreneurs or businesses with less than five employees.

• A total of 85% need financial assistance with 64% applying for SBA loans. The survey also revealed that 39% of respondent needed help with the application process.

• 29% of respondents report annual gross revenue over $1 million and 25% under $100,000.

• The majority of respondents do have some part-time employees and for some businesses this represents the majority of their work force.

65% have been in business for more than 10 years in Westchester County.

70% need help addressing or changing business model or marketing to help keep customers/clients. They are concerned with the immediate situation with regards to cash flow, rent, paying employees and trying to figure out if and how to continue after the pandemic subsides.

• Businesses are looking to their respective chambers or business organizations for information and advocacy for state and federal programs; help with marketing and promoting the businesses in the community; networking and connection with one another and where they can find help.

• They are also looking to the Office of Economic Development to help them connect to resources; accurate and up-to-date information, webinars, help with applications and grants or incentives.

“While each business is dealing with their own specific set of circumstances, the survey helped us to find the common ground and to identify how best to allocate our resources to address the needs. This is like running a marathon on an obstacle course with obstacles we have never seen before,” said Shari Rosen Ascher, Advocacy & Community Liaison for the Office of the Westchester County Executive. “The survey is only the beginning of an open dialogue between the County Executive’s office and the business community.”