An Open Letter to Landlords From Local Business

Dear Landlord,

We’ve been in this mutually-beneficial relationship for a long time, perhaps decades. It’s been good for both of us. We’ve had a place to grow successful local businesses and you’ve made a nice profit.

Now our businesses have an illness called a pandemic. It makes people sick and is sometimes fatal. To help curb this, we have been forced to shut down for an extended period of time. Even now, as we might partially reopen on a curbside and delivery basis, we struggle with the health and safety of employees and customers in addition to all the concerns of a dwindling bank account, federal and local assistance being slow to none, and the unknown future. We’ve had to reinvent ourselves in 10 days just to garner what little bit of business we can. As many in our community look at the numbers of diagnosed illnesses and fatalities of our citizens, we are also looking at the local business fatalities that aren’t included on the daily charts.

We’re intrepid entrepreneurs. So we try to plan for the future. A future that we hope includes you as our landlord. But we need some consideration here. Let’s revisit that mutually beneficial relationship. Work with us. Give us a few months of free or deferred rent. It could be a lifeline to save our business.

For local landlords working with their local business tenants, thank you. This will come back to you in loyal tenants for years.

For those landlords reluctant to give consideration, assess the effects of helping a local business tenant go bankrupt. Finding a new tenant is costly in the best of times, now it’s going to be very expensive because there will be no business expansion for some time to come. We’re all in survival mode. Your space will likely remain vacant for a year or more. What is the cost of that compared to offering a little assistance now?

We recognize that landlords are in business too, some small, some large. You, too, can apply for SBA loans. You, too, can furlough your employees so they can receive unemployment. This is not business as usual. That won’t return for some time. It will return to normal but who knows when? That’s what we all want. But normal means a community filled with thriving local businesses with successful landlords.

We’ve heard from many fronts that we’re all in this together. It’s true. Together means we help each other. If your heart and soul can’t make this leap, look to your bank account. It makes financial sense to work with your current tenant. Reach out to your tenant today and you’ll have a successful relationship for years to come.

Most Sincerely,
Local Business



Upskill From the Comfort of Your Couch 

Upskill From the Comfort of Your Couch 

You are invited to join us at one of our upcoming design thinking workshops: May 20-22 (general audience) and July 22-24 (health and healthcare professionals).

Design thinking is an ideal framework for any professional who wants to create innovative solutions to challenging problems and to empower creativity and collaboration in your team.

Learn More + Save Your Spot

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are holding the May workshop online. We are confident that this will be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. The faculty are putting extensive effort in constructing this workshop for effective delivery online.

Registration is open, though spots are limited. If you would like to join us for the online workshop, please register by May 5.

City of Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan

City of Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan

The Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program provides loans up to $35,000 for daily needs like rent, payroll, and debt. Eligible local businesses must be able to demonstrate an economic loss associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic. The loan is intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business secures recovery resources. The Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program terms require payment of loan dollars up to 12 months at 3.75%.
This loan is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected businesses. To be eligible, you must be headquartered in a City of Austin Council district and have already applied for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Businesses May Open With Limited Access and Strict Guidelines

On Friday, April 24, businesses may open for curb service, delivery or shipping only. To keep everyone as safe as possible, there are policies. Business owners may choose to stay closed or open with strict guidelines in place.

Texas Health and Human services has issued the following guidelines. A printable document can be downloaded here.

Customers may purchase items from a retail location for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep, but may not enter the premises.

In your business:

• All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.

• All employees must be screened before coming into the business for new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home.

• Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands.

• All employees must wear face coverings.

• Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another.

Retail to-go:

• All payments should be done over the phone or Internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.

• Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.

• Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.

Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep:

• All payments should be done over the phone or Internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.

• Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third-party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business.

Retail delivery by mail:

• All payments must be done over the phone or Internet.

• Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.

The choice to open is yours. These policies may not work for all businesses but it is an opportunity for “non-essential” businesses to begin conducting business. To keep all of us as safe as possible, we urge you to strictly follow these guidelines.