80 Percent of Brooklyn Small Businesses Lost Revenue Last Year

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The vast majority of small businesses around Brooklyn lost revenue last year — with a good chunk losing more than half their income — as the coronavirus pandemic ripped through the city, a new survey found.

A survey by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce of 166 small businesses in the borough found that 80 percent lost revenue from 2019 to 2020, with 47 percent reporting the losses totaled more than half of what they made in 2019.

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And 85 percent reported they had to lay off employees during the pandemic, while 51 percent said they had increased their debt load to survive last year.

“The end-of-the-year survey results confirm all that we had been tracking all along in 2020,” Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “Small business revenue is in a free fall, 85 percent of businesses let some of their employees go, and a third of businesses still owe back rent.”

While 33 percent of businesses in the survey reported being behind on rent, 49 percent were not able to get any rent concessions from their landlords. The ones that did mainly got rent reductions or deferrals, the survey found.

Many businesses relied on federal loans or grants to make it through 2020, with 75 percent saying they received a Paycheck Protection Loan and 53 percent getting an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Even if the survey showed a bleak picture for small businesses in Kings County, there were some bright spots. Thirteen percent of respondents actually posted a year-over-year increase in revenue — mainly health care, construction and consulting companies —  according to the survey.