What does COVID-19 mean for Birmingham businesses? We asked, you answered.

Photo via @mjabphotos on Instagram

With the arrival of a global pandemic comes a new reality for citizens and businesses alike. We checked in with the community in and around Birmingham and asked how businesses were responding and being affected. Here’s what you had to say.

Birmingham Strong

When COVID-19 really started to hit in early March, Birmingham and the surrounding areas sprang into action. City and county governments worked around-the-clock, funds and coalitions were assembled to support those who need it most, hashtags and campaigns popped up on social media to support local restaurants and a whole lot more.

In the midst of hard times, it’s been truly incredible to watch our community lift one another up. However, the effects of this pandemic are far from over. Small businesses are some of the entities that have been hit the hardest.

The Birmingham Business Alliance researched and released a survey about the effects of COVID-19 on local business. Keep reading to see their findings as well as some of our own.

About the BBA

The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) is a local economic development organization that spans the seven-county region of Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties.

“The Birmingham Business Alliance’s mission is to lead a regional growth strategy and deliver services that create high-quality jobs and a resilient economy by attracting, retaining and growing competitive and adaptable companies and talent in our seven-county region…”

BBA

The BBA along with the Birmingham Regional Economic Development Alliance conducted an economic impact survey on the effects of COVID-19 for local businesses.

The Survey

Photo via BBA survey

You can read the full report here, written by the BBA Director of Research, Emily Jerkins.

They survey launched in mid-March and was open throughout April. More than 260 companies spanning location and industry responded, giving insight into the impact this pandemic has had on their business.

While the impact is dire, they claim that the outlook is not as bleak in Birmingham as it is in some metros. Here were some of the key takeaways:

  • 9 out of 10 businesses indicated a decrease or expected decrease in business.
  • 4 out of 10 businesses indicated potential layoffs.
  • 7 out of 10 businesses indicated a revenue loss of 10% or more.
  • Nearly half of small business respondents cannot operate more than 30 days without new sales.
  • Minority-, women- and disadvantaged-owned (MWDBE) businesses, representing 42% of respondents, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Here’s what business owners are thinking about right now. Photo via BBA survey

Local Feedback

We reached out to June Mathews, the Executive Director at the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce. She remarked that while local businesses are working on their reopening plans, continuing to support them is the most important thing we can do right now.

“Nothing means more to a small business than your patronage.”

June Mathews, Executive Director, Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce

Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations like the BBA and REV Birmingham will continue to be important resources for our city and its business owners.

“It’s been our stance from the beginning that the chamber’s role would become more critical in the aftermath of the economic shutdown.

While we’ve certainly kept ourselves informed of government assistance programs so we’d be able to assist our members with those and done everything possible to encourage and assist our members from day one of this crisis, we also know that supporting them as they reopen will more readily help them move forward.”

June Mathews, Executive Director, Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce

Looking for Support?

There are a ton of ways for local businesses to get support right now. As a Birmingham small business ourselves, Bham Now opened our platform for local business + nonprofits to share their info for free.

You can also check out these COVID-19 resources from these entities:

Do your part and support local! If you need inspiration, check out our database to find over 480 local restaurants, bars and businesses.

  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.