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Small businesses slowly readying for reopen

WAIMEA– Slowly businesses are gearing up to open their doors after county and state officials have announced they’re starting to loosen up their restrictions and emergency rules.

The Saddle Room at the Wrangler’s Steakhouse in Waimea is one of them, almost ready to re-open soon and planning to stay within the rules for doing so — like enforcing the six-foot social distancing rule between customers and mask wearing.

Manager Marissa Faye said her mom Colleen Faye the owner had to closed the restaurant down on March 21 and since then faced many hardships.

“It’s been rough, it’s also been interesting almost daily. We closed all of our operations completely. (We) laid off all but two or three of us. We tried to apply for the SBA PPP (Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program) loan. We didn’t get it…bills keep coming and not the revenue,” said Faye.

According to Faye, Wrangler’s Steakhouse is aiming to re-open on May 4, plan to be open from Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and they will have take out and delivery service through The Saddle Room. Faye confirmed their retail room upstairs will be closed but they will bring their items down and have a mini market.

Faye said they are in the middle of painting their restaurant and landscaping in front, as well as deep cleaning everything and getting rid of stuff they don’t need.

“We’re excited to get back on our feet and serve our customers who have become a part of our Wranglers Ohana,” said Faye.

Faye said they are opening small with a limited menu just to get started. And they hope to build up from there.

Although Faye did not get a PPP loan through Small Business Administration, there are other financial institutes that are working hard to help Kaua‘i businesses apply for the second round of funding.

Justin Ganaden, executive vice president of Gather FCU said for several weeks, his team of lenders has been working around the clock preparing and submitting Payroll Protection Program applications.

“When the SBA resumed accepting applications for round two of the PPP program we were able to submit applications for more of our members and have seen an increase in loan approvals from the first round,” said Ganaden. “The excitement and relief in our business owner’s voices when notifying them of their approval has made all the hard work and effort worth it for our team. Here at Gather, we are committed to doing anything we possibly can to help the island of Kaua‘i get through these tough times.”

Jim Mayfield, president of Island Business and Commercial Brokerage said he’s been back working from his office for a little while, but did do some time working from home when the stay-at-home order went into effect. He said he’s realized he’s far more focused when he’s working from the office, than he is when he’s trying to do his job from his home.

“My efficiency (working out of the office) is about 300 % better than working form home,” Mayfield said. “While I love my home and my wife, I love efficiently getting work out of the door almost as much. I immediately settled back into my routine (when I got back to the office).”

Mayfield said he is back to eating lunch at a specific time, and he appreciates looking into his courtyard from his glass window and being able to head home from work knowing he had a productive day.

“Assuming the rule regarding office spaces get largely rolled back, it will be nice to resume inviting clients and prospects to my office and have them sit on my couch (about 10 feet from my chair) and just talk story about the business purchase or commercial real estate they are interested in,” said Mayfield. “And it will be nice to stop by my building tenant office and just say hi (and hand them a Jack-In-The Box) coupon form my morning paper.”

Mayfield said one COVID-related change he expects to stick is conducting business via virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom. He said he’s been a subscriber and user of Zoom or a few years, so using the platform wasn’t foreign to him, but there’s been an uptick in usage across the board since work-from-home and stay-at-home orders were issued across the world.

While businesses like Wrangler’s are getting ready to welcome a few more customers in some fashion over the next week or two, Mayfield says when it comes to brokerage and real estate, things will only return to something similar to a pre-COVID normal when travel to Hawaii picks back up.

“Until prospect buyers can fly to visit the property or business they are interested in acquiring, my business will continue to just tread water,” said Mayfield.
Source: The Garden Island

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