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My Thoughts on the Coronavirus and Business

In my 40 years in business, I have lived through many economic downturns. From the stock market crash of the late 1980’s, the housing bust of 1990’s, the tragic event of 911 and the great recession of 2008. This is different.  The fears and the realities of the coronavirus has affected us all.  And some areas of the country have been hit harder than others.  In all other situations, I fought like hell to make a difference and beat the circumstances.  Again, this is different.

I am not an alarmist, not a defeatist and I do not get sucked into the sensationalism of the press. Just today, I heard a sports announcer on a talk radio show advise her listeners to stay at home, don’t go to work, don’t go to the movies, don’t go out of the house and isolate yourself from other people. Is this rational?  I can’t do that. 

I am an automotive shop owner. What I do matters to my family and the community. I…WE….need to be there to ensure that the doctors, nurses, police, public officials and everyone else has their transportation ready to perform. Stay home? Us? Is that an option?

But again…this is different.  This afternoon, I was getting ready to go to Church;  4:00pm Mass, when my wife got an alert that Church as been canceled.  Wait; let me say this again real slow…Church… has…. been…canceled.

Fear has a way of eating at the fabric of our rational being.  I fully understand the reality of what is happening. This virus will take people’s lives. But, do we run away in the face of a threat?  Is this who we are?  What do we do? Close our businesses for a few weeks? A month or two? How many of us can afford that?  We all know the answer to that question.

As automotive shop owners, technicians, service advisors and all the other valuable employees of this great profession, we need to take the proper precautions. Do all you can to protect yourself and your family. If you decide to continue to operate your shop during this challenging time, have a meeting with all your employees. Take the proper steps to protect yourself, your employees and your customers.

Business may get ugly for some.  My company has taken a  40% drop in business the past three weeks, directly contributed to the coronavirus outbreak.

I write this to tell you how I feel; not to decide for anyone what to do.  I will not force my employees to do anything they feel would put themselves or their families in harm’s way.  For me, I intend to fight. I will take care of myself, take care of my family. But there are too many people depending on what I do, and way too may years behind me to hunker down and wait this out.

Stay safe, stay healthy. Take this situation serious. But please don’t give up. We will prevail and we will get through this together.  We are the hardest working, most resilient, toughest people on the planet.

Let’s show the world and this virus who we are!

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