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Study finds Louisville small businesses not optimistic about quick road to recovery

The Louisville Independent Business Alliance said support for small businesses matters now more than ever, to ensure they're here after the pandemic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After a number of local businesses have closed their doors for good amid the pandemic, businesses are uncertain what the road to recovery looks like.

"It certainly wont be a seamless recovery, there will definitely be some bumps," Jennifer Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, said.

A new study from lendingtree.com using U.S. Census Bureau data found of the top 50 metros across the country, Louisville has an even worse outlook of the COVID-19 bounce back than it did in April. It shows business owners believe it'll take more than four months to recover. 

"The locals have come out and they've supported us and I believe if locals continue to do that, we are all going to bounce back real well," Red Tree owner Garwood Linton, said.  "It is the heartbeat of America and that's small businesses."

Linton said the study "surprises" and "saddens" him. He said he believes the recovery for all industries will happen this year.

"I do think in the summer well hopefully start to see some good signs. Certainly not a full recovery by then," Linton said.

Rubenstein said many of Louisville's small business owners rely on the entertainment and tourism industries, and that those will need to revitalize in Louisville before small businesses can fully recover, too.

"We do feel like in early summer that we'll start seeing that leisure traveler come back," Karen Williams, the president of Louisville Tourism, said.

Williams said she believes the tourism industry will be the last to bounce back, 

"The vaccine is really very hopeful," Williams said.

"The bounce back will happen when people get vaccinated. That is the big key," Garwood also added.

It's the light at the end of the tunnel, they say.

"I'm hopeful that we can hang in there and have a full recovery," Rubenstein said. "If you don't buy local, it's bye-bye local."

The Louisville Independent Business Alliance said support for small businesses matters now more than ever, to ensure they're here after the pandemic.

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