In support of small businesses

Blog post Marica Micallef

I was always a great supporter of small businesses because they are the fruit of the hard work of our middle-classes. The more they are family-run, the more I buy from them. I do this not only out of support and admiration but also because they struggle harder to compete with giant businesses.

It has been a few months now that shop owners I buy from, have shown concern about the way things are and they are afraid of what is install in the future. Some complain that agents are having a delay in the deliveries. The pet shop owner told me that there are more frequent days when she does not even have one client in a day. A small kebab restaurant close by, before the partial lockdown, had tearful eyes while telling me that since the start of Covid-19, his income has been reduced so much that he hardly has enough to pay its monthly rent. On asking him if providing takeaway service makes up, he answered that it does not as usually he was popular for walk-ins.

This makes me sad. And it equally saddens me to read that the St. Andrews bar of St George’s Bay St Julians, which had been running for 112 years, has now closed its doors. In a Facebook post, Andy Chircop, a co-owner of this family-run place, wrote “And that marks the end of an era in which I was practically born in,” Chircop said in a Facebook post. “Worked there for 17 years (managed it for 12) together with my family and staff we made a place where also other people called it home.”

While the authorities make us believe that the monthly wage supplement is doing the trick, in reality, it isn’t. A friend of mine who has owned a restaurant for 15 years, made me realise that this supplement is not even enough to cover the rent, let alone the utility bills (of both the restaurant and his residence) that keep on coming, paying his loans and catering for the needs of his family.

Another friend and a bar owner informed me that he is not getting the supplement because the wage supplements were distributed in a hierarchical way, starting from those who owned a bar for years. My friend has started this bar in November 2019, 3 months before the start of the pandemic here. So, he is not getting any.

Guess, all that is shown to be glittery from our politicians, is not gold!

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