Reeling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Westchester businesses are highly anxious about their survival and frustrated with the process of applying for financial assistance. They are also looking for the County and local Chambers to be their advocates as they struggle though this unprecedented crisis

Those are among the results of a survey released today by the Westchester County Office of Economic Development to assess the economic impacts related to COVID-19. The County said the survey results will inform strategies to speed recovery and will shape emergency relief programs and support.

The survey, which was sent to the County Economic Development Office’s email 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 Business Journal.

 Here are key findings from the survey:

  • 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.
  • 85% need financial assistance with 64% applying for SBA loans. 39% need help with the application process.
  • 29% of respondents report annual gross revenue over $1,000,000 and 25% under $100,000. Small businesses have a broad spectrum.
  • 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 so they are part of the fabric of Westchester.
  • 70% need help addressing or changing business model or marketing to help keep customers/clients. They are concerned with immediate situation with regards to cash flow, rent, paying employees and trying to figure out if and how to continue after.
  • Businesses are looking to their 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.

“The results of this survey clearly show that the Westchester business community is struggling to survive during this crippling economic downturn and needs help. 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,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

“We are appreciative that so many business owners took the time to complete the survey. 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,” she added.