CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Our family-owned restaurants are taking a massive hit right now, after being closed for over two months.
Because of this, we are starting to see some of the places we love here in the Mountain State, close.
“This is difficult, but we need to tell people the truth,” says Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper.
Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, one of the only riverfront restaurants in Charleston, announced its closing its doors for good.
The restaurant has served the City of Charleston for the last ten years.
Now, when you walk up to the restaurant, you’ll notice a for sale sign.
“I am so sad,” Carper says. “I know these folks. I’ve been a customer at both places.”
Bluegrass Kitchen also announced its closure over the weekend, with a Facebook post stating: “tonight is our last night open … for awhile anyway.”
“The bottom line is, we’re going to have unfortunately a lot of businesses that we’ve gone to, we know the people that own them, and they just won’t be here after this,” Carper says.
Carper has been very involved in the economic impacts COVID-19 is having here.
“It’s going to be a lot of folks,” he says. “Everything from dental offices … dental offices will close … there will be doctor’s offices … law firms … ”
He estimates around 20% of the businesses here will end up being forced to close.
“That’s a number that I’ve actually used, based on things we’ve read from the US Chamber of Commerce and talking with local businesses,” he says.
A big reason for these small business closures, is the business loans that were rolled out by the federal government through the CARES Act, favored larger corporations with larger credit lines.
“That was wrong,” Carper says. “Both of our senators, Senator Manchin and Senator Capito, said from day one how wrong that was.”
Especially considering small businesses make up over 85% of the Mountain State.
“The government has got to do something,” Carper says.. “And it has to come from the federal level. The state can’t do it. The local can’t do it.”
There is a new phase of loans recently rolled out by the SBA, you can find more information here.