SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A new report from Facebook shows small businesses are starting to recover from the pandemic, but a lot of
challenges remain, especially for woman and Latino-owned businesses.

“We lost one of the businesses on this street,” said Connie Alvarez, who can count several mostly Latino-owned small businesses that have closed on Santa Clara Street since the pandemic began. The latest is a bridal shop two doors down.

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“She made it all through the pandemic, but since we re-opened on June 15th, she didn’t make it a month,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez owns Plaza Jewelers, a landmark business started by her father decades ago. She also serves on the Alum Rock/Santa Clara Street Small Business Association which just did a recent survey of its members.

“We’re noticing a third of the businesses are no longer around. I’m noticing right now because I drive these streets, that we’re losing one business every couple of weeks,” she said.

Facebook has also been surveying small businesses on a global and national scale. It’s Global State of Small Business Report found 83% of all U.S. small businesses still have challenges paying the bills. Among Latino-led businesses, 24% of them closed for good – 7 points higher than other groups.

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Among some of the positive findings, 28% of small businesses increased sales over the same period last year. One restaurant that’s on the rebound is Sushi Confidential, but it’s still being hampered from a full recovery by the ongoing shortage of workers.

“We’re closing at 9pm every night. We want to be open ’til midnight just like before the pandemic but we can’t because we don’t have enough employees to fill those shifts,” said owner Randy Musterer.

The Facebook report also backed up what Alvarez has been seeing with her members: an increasing number running their business using online tools out of their homes.

“They have the capability and at this point, they’d rather save on their rent and continue their business from home,” she said.

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