Eureka Springs small business owner gets creative in making cash

KNWA

A local dad is trying to pay the bills by stocking other people's shelves.

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As more and more businesses go under due to COVID-19, many people are having to think outside of the box to make ends meet.

Jayme Brandt is a small business owner.

COURTESY OF JAMYE BRANDT

“For at least three weeks in March I had zero people in my shop and it’s just terrifying,” Brandt said.

He owns a graphic tee shop called Tee Rex in Eureka Springs.

COURTESY OF JAYME BRANDT

He also transforms buildings in the downtown area there into Airbnbs.

Not only do I have no revenue coming in, but I also have mortgage payments for 100-year-old buildings that I have to take care of and I have no way to pay for those.

JAYME BRANDT, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

Brandt, like many other small business owners, is feeling the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have 5 kids, my wife doesn’t work she homeschools the kids,” he said.

COURTESY OF JAYME BRANDT

He’s at risk for losing everything, even with the help made available by federal and state government.

So he decided to find a creative way to earn a buck.

Honestly I’ll never look at employees the same way ever again.

JAYME BRANDT, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

He signed up to do Instacart — a same-day grocery delivery and pick-up service.

“Most of the time so far the customer has been an older person that’s scared to go to the grocery store,” he said.

It’s a move that’s helped him stay afloat, but it’s not for everyone.

Economist and University of Arkansas Professor Mervin Jebaraj said it’s important to make sure your side gig doesn’t end up costing your more.

“You want to make sure that you still qualify for the benefits that you need and don’t forgo some of those benefits in the hopes that some other short term business opportunity which may or may not work out for you,” Professor Jebaraj said.

In Brandt’s case, he said thinking outside the box was the right move — one that he’s extremely grateful for.

COURTESY OF JAYME JEBARAJ

“Don’t be so prideful that you wouldn’t try something that you would’ve thought yesterday was beneath you,” Brandt said.

He said through this experience he’s learned how valuable and important every employee is out there.

“I feel like these are people I never noticed, like they’re just in the way, they’re just in the background,” he said. “I never thought about what their life was like, but now I realize how needed those people are from the cash register to the person stalking the shelves.”

For more information about Tee Rex, click here.

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