Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Seeking to Restore $1.2 Trillion in Economic Activity
Originally released on July 13, 2021
Washington, DC – A growing coalition of small businesses still struggling to recover from the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic are asking Congress to pass broad-based recovery funding that would add to the narrowly targeted measures passed so far.
The previously passed emergency funding targeted very specific industries, leaving out many organizations that did not fit into those categories. The recently formed, highly diverse Economic Bridge Coalition, representing industries that previously accounted for over $1.2 trillion in economic activity, is calling for additional investments through the Small Business Administration (SBA). These grants would be based on sustained losses due to pandemic closures, regardless of industry.
The pandemic caused much personal tragedy, but more is being caused by job losses and economic hardship in businesses that were most impacted by economic shutdowns.
“When people tell me to be hopeful because things are ‘starting to open,’ it is sad because, in truth, I am so far behind that even if my clients called me tomorrow, I would no longer have the capacity to serve them. This has not been a ‘pause’ or ‘interruption’… it is a giant rewind. My business of 12 years is starting over. My staff is gone. I am selling off inventory and my assets. We need help NOW... We needed it 15 months ago. It’s not likely we can simply "recover" without any support,”
said Emily Anderson, an event management business owner in Edmonds, Wash.
The Coalition started in May 2021 with 13 trade association members, and it continues to grow. Just joining is the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operated trade association in the United States. CTDA represents manufacturers, suppliers and retailers throughout the United States in a highly specialized industry that employs over 10,000 retail associates, 3,500 people in manufacturing and wholesale, and 500 at US-based suppliers. Products include uniforms for the armed services, police and other essential workers, as well as costumes for the theater industry and business-wear for professionals.
“Our industry was stopped in its tracks by the shutdown and is still struggling. Prior estimates predicted growth to 30% within the next five years. But our foreign competitors, particularly in Asia, have captured market share with the help of generous government support. Without significant help retooling after the economic scars of the shutdowns, much of the benefits of the predicted expansion will go to our foreign competitors,”
said CDTA Executive Director D-D Lazenby.
The members of the Coalition’s associations have already lost over a year’s worth of revenue that cannot be recovered. They do not expect reimbursement for all their losses, but they do need additional SBA investments in order to restart their operations and re-employ their workers. In addition to taking on mountains of new debt just to survive, they’ve had to deplete their cash and other reserves, which means they cannot acquire new inventory, pay rent, reactivate mothballed equipment, and do the myriad other tasks necessary in order to rebuild
Relatively modest amounts of new investment through the SBA can jump-start a small business so that it can rehire its workers and start serving its customers. Industries like the airlines, restaurants, performance venues, and theaters received targeted aid from the federal government. The Coalition is calling for legislation that will offer broad-based aid to businesses that show they need it.
“What was over a trillion dollars in business has shrunk dramatically. Our proposal will help every state and every congressional district where our broad coalition of businesses operate. But we need action soon, before it’s too late,”
said John McClelland, vice president government affairs and chief economist of the American Rental Association.
“Access to capital has always been an issue for small businesses and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. The SBA has all the necessary authority to service the programs that will help hardhit small businesses. It is essential that Congress broaden that authority and provide the necessary appropriations to get the job done,”
“Our nationwide coalition isn’t seeking special favors, just additional investments for those who need it so that the economic recovery can continue, not stall out as small businesses run out of money and close. Rather than picking specific winners, we’re asking for broad-based investment based on need,”
said Eben Peck, executive vice president for advocacy at the American Society of Travel Advisors.
A trade show, conference, horse show, state fair, wedding or annual vacation with visits to entertainment sites that didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 can’t magically be re-created in the future. The tapestry of small businesses required to produce these experiences need to be in business for these types of events to happen. Importantly, although the country is re-opening, many events planned for 2021 have already had to be cancelled.
The members of the Coalition include the American Rental Association, representing the equipment and event rental industry; the Live Events Coalition, representing businesses that produce and service live events; the American Society of Travel Advisors, representing travel agencies and advisors; IAAPA, representing theme parks, family entertainment centers, museums, water parks, aquariums, and other attractions; the International Council of Airshows; the Outdoor Amusement Business Association; the International Association of Fairs and Expositions; the Professional Photographers Association; the American Horse Council, representing the $122 billion U.S. horse industry; the Specialty Equipment Market Association; the Performance Racing Industry; the National Ski Areas Association; the Custom Tailors & Designers Association; and the National Press Photographers Association, the voice of visual journalists.
The small- and medium-sized businesses that behind the scenes make events happen are trying to stay alive, but they are running out of time. Unlike other sectors of the economy, simply reopening does not offer an immediate cure for these key industries. Therefore, Congress and the Biden Administration must act to broaden the investments already made by pandemic aid programs beyond some targeted industries to include all those severely damaged by the pandemic and its related lockdowns. They must act now!
The Economic Bridge Coalition is working with Members of Congress on legislative proposals. Additional associations of affected industries are welcome to join this initiative. For more information, please contact one or more of the Coalition representatives listed below.
Economic Bridge Coalition Members Contact Information
John McClelland American Rental Association
202-306-0769 | john.McClelland@ararental.org
Tracy Taylor International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
202-517-1305 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dwayne Thomas Live Events Coalition
503-929-2511 | email@example.com
John Cudahy International Council of Airshows
703-401-1719 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Chiecko Outdoor Amusement Business Association
Marla J. Calico International Association of Fairs and Expositions
417-862-5771 | email@example.com
Luc Boulet Professional Photographers of America
404-522-8600 X 281 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eben Peck American Society of Travel Advisors
703.739.6842 | email@example.com
Julie Broadway American Horse Council
202-296-4031 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Ingber Specialty Equipment Market Association
202-792-4446 | email@example.com
Dr. Jamie Meyer Performance Racing Industry
317-428-9211 | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Byrd National Ski Areas Association
720-963-4213 | email@example.com
Hillary Jochmans Custom Taylors and Designers Association firstname.lastname@example.org
Alicia Calzada National Press Photographers Association
210-825-1449 | Alicia@calzadalegal.co