’It’s been quite frustrating watching the big stores open from day one’: Small business owners feeling left out as Mass. rolls out Phase 1

BOSTON — A day after Governor Baker announced Phase 1 of the plan to reopen Massachusetts, many small business owners are frustrated they weren’t included.

“It’s been pretty devastating for us in this sector because our busiest times have been the last eight weeks as the busiest time for us,” said Rob Nash, owner of Extra Innings in Middleton. “Over 50% of our revenue comes from these past eight weeks.”

Now, the cages remain idle at Extra Innings since Nash’s business wasn’t included in the reopening plan’s Phase 1.

“I was going through the list and where we might be categorized in and my biggest nightmare came through and then I’m looking at some other opportunities people have and it’s imbalanced,” said Nash.

The same can be said for Jay Frucci’s Furniture Consignment Gallery.

“It’s been quite frustrating watching the big stores open from day one, wide open for business,” said Frucci​. “With zero restrictions in terms of what they can and can’t sell and small businesses have a lot of those same products and we’re on the sidelines.”

Three locations of Frucci’s store have all been forced to sell online.

“In our kind of business, we are preowned so people do want to see it, they do want to sit on it. they want to touch it and make sure the condition is as it’s represented online,” said Frucci.

Frucci received the PPP loan, but says he’s had to furlough staff while they wait to reopen.

At Extra Innings, they’ve relied on the PPP loan too but when it expires in four weeks, Nash says he;s looking at lay offs if thye don’t reopen.

“We’re a part of our community for 22 years," said Nash. “We don’t want to ruin that but we’re also in jeopardy of going out of business and if we have to wait for six more weeks. We may not be here.”

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