'I Just Cannot Keep Doing It' — A Bangor Small-Business Owner Considers Her Limited Options

May 22, 2020

Data from the Small Business Administration show that since the start of the pandemic, more than 25,000 loans have been approved for small businesses in Maine, and almost 90 percent of applicants have received the funds. But some are wary of taking on more debt while their businesses are ordered closed.

Credit Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Rebecca Garcia is one example. She opened a frame shop in downtown Bangor one year ago. And although she considers herself fortunate that her husband still has work, she told us, in her own words, that she is running out of options:

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

"We love the idea of buying a business in downtown Bangor, you know, we love art, we collect art.

"So this was the perfect business for us, and I've been working so hard the last 13 months.

"People stopped showing up. Basically nobody was coming in the store. People, if they came, they were all afraid. We couldn't touch their credit card. They didn't want to touch our frame moldings. You know, people were scared.

"And then we were mandated to close, so my store has been closed since March 17.

"Very unluckily for us, our like big payments starting in April, a then we have so many, many expenses, our lease and insurance, utilities. I cannot keep paying. I just cannot keep doing it. I cannot keep losing thousands of dollars.

"Oh my God, how do you sleep? The last nine weeks, sleeping is like I just can't, like it's two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning, and I'm thinking and I'm trying to come up with a solution.

"Everybody's losing. So I'm trying to keep that in mind. You know, it's not just me.

"I really hope that they let us open. This is scary. We have three kids, you know, like what's going to happen with my family?"

That was Rebecca Garcia, whose frame shop in Bangor has been closed for more than two months. Her profile was produced by Susan Sharon as part of Maine Public's Deep Dive Coronavirus coverage.