Struggling business closes doors under the coronavirus

Published: May. 22, 2020 at 12:04 AM EDT
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Businesses across the country and in Vermont have been struggling to stay open because of COVID-19 and some have already closed their doors.

Jim Arpey, the owner of the Vermont Sandwich Company in Williston, says he closed his sandwich shop when the pandemic hit, making it harder to pay the bills. While assistance from the state and federal government helped, he said they were still losing too much money to stay open.

"This is our busy season coming into this part of the year. We go through a very slow season in the middle of winter," Arpey said. "This type of thing happens and then we're shut down when we're supposed to be recovering from a difficult winter. There was a small grant that came through that let us limp along for another week or two, but the reality, the writing was on the wall."

Cathy Davis with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce says nearly every business has been affected by COVID-19. She says she doesn't know of any Burlington-based businesses that have closed their doors permanently, but she does expect a few businesses to close before the pandemic is over.

"I have not talked to a single business that has been unaffected by this regardless of industry or sector," Davis said. "They've been harmed by what's going on. Even as we're able to open the economy there will be businesses that, just aren't able to operate at a capacity that allows them to be profitable."

Both Arpey and Davis say there's too much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic to understand when businesses will be able to turn a profit. Arpey hopes that the Vermont Sandwich Company brand will back in the near future but for now he has decided to say goodbye to a business he's owned for over 20 years.

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