Archive for Dominick Reuter

Donations for Nashville small businesses damaged in the Christmas Day bomb attack are pouring in from across the country. Owners pray it’s enough.

Nashville Explosion
Smoke billows from the site of an explosion in the area on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard early Christmas morning.
  • In the early-morning hours of Christmas Day, an RV loaded with explosives was detonated on Second Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • An estimated 41 businesses were damaged in the blast that appears to have been targeted at an AT&T facility on the block.
  • While local business owners say they've received early signs of support, recovery efforts of this scale have taken months, if not years.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lior Rose was celebrating the holidays with family in Kentucky when he heard the news that an RV bomb had exploded on the doorstep of his tattoo shop, Nashville Ink.

None of his seven staff was on site at dawn on Christmas morning, but Rose immediately checked his web-connected security cameras and saw the damage.

At that moment, he told Insider, "it became real."

Nashville Ink tattoo bombing
A screenshot of the Nashville Ink security camera feed shortly after the explosion.

Rose's shop was one of an estimated 41 businesses that were damaged in the blast that appears to have been targeted at an AT&T facility on the Second Avenue in Nashville.

But while community support has been swift, if US cities' past encounters with domestic terrorism are any guide, the road to recovery for one of the South's most beloved thoroughfares will require a lot more support - and money - than what has been committed so far.

'A tornado, riots, and now this'

Police body camera footage from the scene showed debris and glass raining down over several blocks, including windows blown out onto First Avenue.

The owners of the side-by-side retail boutiques Ensemble and Simply the Best posted a photo on their website showing several floors of their building collapsing into their storefronts.

"This year has been absolutely heartbreaking for us as a small local business. Starting with a pandemic, going into a tornado, riots, and now this," they wrote in an appeal for support.

Several GoFundMe campaigns have been launched with mixed results. Pride and Glory, another tattoo shop, has raised nearly $50,000, while Nashville Ink's has raised just over $2,800 at the time of this article's publication.

On Monday, Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC's "The Profit" and "Streets of Dreams," announced a $500,000 donation and the creation of a relief fund to help business owners like Rose rebuild with forgivable loans up to $100,000.

"This community, like many others this year, have been through a lot and now to have a bomb wipe them out, it's too much to deal with on their own," Lemonis wrote in an email to Insider.

Lemonis added that he'd visited Nashville in 2019 and that he "fell in love with it," he said. "To get emails from people feeling abandoned and scared, what else do you need to hear to get out there and help?"

Owners are hoping the money can stretch

The money raised so far is dwarfed by the losses that are still being tallied up, and Rose anticipates that much of it will not be covered by insurance.

Indeed, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, many businesses spent years wrangling with insurers and had to absorb millions of dollars in losses - primarily due to interrupted business. A year after the Boston attacks, insurers had paid out over $1.9 million to businesses in the area, but many were left well short of whole.

The Nashville explosion caused far more property damage than the attacks in Boston, and after a year of depressed sales due to the pandemic, business owners like Rose are anxious about what the coming months will bring.

The area around the explosion site remains sealed off, and Rose says he hasn't yet been able to assess the actual damage to his shop, which he had just spent $150,000 renovating in August.

"I was hoping to start 2021 on the right foot, but I guess that's not gonna happen," he said.

Lemonis said that business owners who have suffered catastrophes like this "have every right to expect more" from their political leaders and their local community.

President Trump has been conspicuously silent about the act of domestic terrorism, and the mayor's office website directs businesses to the Nashville Downtown Partnership, a local nonprofit, for assistance.

"As a society, we should expect and demand that people are there in our time of need," Lemonis said. "Just like we would be for them."

Read the original article on Business Insider

How small businesses can cut costs and boost revenue as they start to reopen safely

resources for resilience banner (2) (2)
Fit Athletic Club
  • An uneven recovery is bringing new budgeting challenges, as margins get squeezed between new ongoing operating expenses and curtailed capacity.
  • Business Insider spoke with business leaders about how to trim costs and maximize revenues under these difficult circumstances.
  • Here are three tips that can help business owners make the math work.
  • This article is part of a series called Resources for Resilience, focused on providing tips and inspiration for small businesses who are learning how to survive and thrive in today’s economy. 

On March 14, Fit Athletic Club's five locations in San Diego were serving an average of 6,000 members per day. A day later, the business was frozen and 430 employees were on furlough to slow the spread of the coronavirus, CEO Scott Lutwak said in an interview with Business Insider. "I didn't even know how to comprehend what had transpired 24 hours earlier," he said.

Today, like many business owners across the country, Lutwak is trying to get his business back on its feet, facing down a re-opening process that is far longer than many expected.

Along with that uneven recovery come new budgeting challenges, as margins get squeezed between new ongoing operating expenses and curtailed capacity hampering revenues.

In addition to Lutwak's fitness center, Business Insider spoke with a restaurateur and an office space provider to learn their best advice for making the math work.

Make safety a part of your brand to attract and retain customers

All three businesses we spoke with have made serving health-conscious customers part of their brand identity. It's important to make a plan and clearly communicate it with customers and employees.

Jon Taffer, the host of the TV show "Bar Rescue" and founder of Taffer's Tavern franchise, trademarked a "safe dining" system that includes sanitation standards for food and equipment as well as a staffing plan, all aimed at reducing risk. 

Office space provider Firmspace is also seeing a competitive edge from doubling down on its branding as a safe place to get work done. In contrast to the open floor-plan coworking arrangement, Firmspace caters to professionals who need more private, secure workspaces — an arrangement that was more compatible to social distancing.

"We were COVID-friendly before we knew what COVID was," said Charlie Tanner, the company's director of real estate and development, said.

Tanner said Firmspace's existing model and its quick action and clear messaging around safety have helped keep clients coming into their offices, even as droves of white-collar workers increasingly work from home.

Don't assume that customers will trust you to have a plan. Lean into the part of your business that is most able to continue safely and lay out exactly how you plan to do that.

Work to reduce property expenses

Rent can be one of the biggest expenses for any business, and it's difficult to find a way around that. However, these are extenuating circumstances, and some businesses are seeing success in negotiating lower or deferred rent.

Others may realize they don't need all the space they've been paying for. Tanner says that some companies are seeing considerable cost savings from downsizing their offices and closing satellite locations.

Businesses that need modifications are turning to architects and developers to include designs and technologies that improve safety and physical distancing. It may be worth your time to discuss which costs your landlord may be responsible for, and which are up to you.

Supercharge your scheduling and use that data to improve efficiency

To address the challenges of reduced density, businesses are stepping up their scheduling game. Fit Athletic Club members now sign up to work out during a certain time-slot. At Firmspace, all shared conference rooms require a reservation.

Schedules afford each business four key advantages: first, all appointments include a buffer at the end for disinfecting space and equipment; second, it simplifies contact tracing in case that's needed; third, it allows the businesses to stay within capacity limits mandated by local authorities; finally, scheduling allows you to plan ahead for your staffing, cleaning, or stocking needs. 

Tanner of Firmspace said managers should really be thinking carefully about which members of their teams truly need to be in a physical space, and that flexible arrangements can help make sure you only pay for what you need.

He stresses the importance of maintaining clear lines of communication among your partners, employees, and customers — after all, without them, you don't really have a business.

Read the original article on Business Insider