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Some small businesses call for more pandemic support

Roman Battaglia / Delaware Public Media
Evans Armantrading at his Dover location

Republican gubernatorial candidate Julianne Murray says small businesses haven’t been supported enough through the pandemic.


CNU Fit is a personal trainer gym with locations in Dover and Milford. Owner Evans Armantrading says his business quickly learned to adapt to the changes that came with the Coronavirus pandemic.


His business recently won the Veteran-Owned Business Owner of the Year award from the Small Business Administration Delaware. He chalks it up to his ingenuity and continued growth.


But Armantrading says he’s inclined to agree with Murray’s take on state government's support of small business throughout the pandemic.


“Yes there are grants and all those opportunities, but entrepreneurship is not about how many grants I can get, said Armantrading. "It’s about giving me the opportunity to do what America was founded on.”


Armantrading thinks the state focused too much on unemployment benefits, which he says de-incentivizes people to find a job and to remain unemployed.


He wants small business owners to have more input on policies that affect them.


“I don’t think that small business owners' mindset is to build policies to affect the small business owners," said Armantrading. "While I was shut down and I couldn't have any clients, Walmart was open.”


Armantrading’s gym managed to retain over 90 percent of its client base through the pandemic, but not without the help of economic recovery loans through the state.


He says small businesses like his run of razor thin margins, and when the state imposes capacity restrictions, it can really eat into what were already minimal profits.


Gov. John Carney has released state grants to support small business throughout the pandemic and keep them from furloughing employees.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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