Expert says future of business in Seattle uncertain

SEATTLE - One expert predicts the coronavirus may continue to impact local businesses and the economy well after the "stay-at-home" order is lifted.

There is an expectation of a return to normalcy once we are able to leave our homes following the "stay-at-home" order.

Jeff Shulman,  a Professor of Marketing at the University of Washington, says we might not see what we consider “normal” for some time following the pandemic.

“We’re going to see, sadly, a lot of small businesses close up shop and never return,” said Shulman.

He says due to weeks of lost earnings, some businesses do not have the funds to make it through the quarantine.

However, he says he believes the businesses that do make it through will also continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic past the "stay-at-home" order.

“There’s going to be a lasting psychological trauma from social distancing and needing to be far apart from other people, and economic trauma as many people here in Seattle have already lost their jobs and more are likely to be affected,” said Shulman.

For some small business owners, they say the future is uncertain.

“It would be great if we can flip the switch and go back to normal,” said Carolyn Bardon. “But I think it will be a slow ramp up honestly,” she added.

Bardon is the owner of Swink Style Bar.

She says her business has been closed for three weeks. Bardon says she is fighting to stay open, applying for loans in an effort to bring back her 21 employees.

“My intent is to make it. We’ve been around for ten years. We’ve got loyal clients, but will they come back in the same amount? Will they be as loyal as they have been? Their financial circumstances may not be as good anymore,” she said.

Shulman believes the impacts on the economy will expand further than just businesses, affecting the city as a whole.

He predicts things will start to return to normal once people are comfortable being in groups again, and once they are comfortable spending money. When that might happen is a question he can't answer.