The state of local business


By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

The city of Grove City is reaching out to the business community to gain insight into the impact business owners are facing with the coronavirus pandemic.

At the April 20 virtual council meeting, Kyle Rauch, the city’s development director, presented a business outreach summary.

“We want to understand what they (business owners) are facing and make them aware of resources,” said Rauch.

According to Rauch, the development department reached out to about 300 businesses in the community, or nearly one third of city establishments. Business owners were asked about staffing and the supply chain. While some businesses have been greatly impacted by the virus and subsequent stay-at-home orders by Ohio Governor Mike Dewine, others are doing well.

Based on the report, quick service food establishments that do most of their business out the window are doing well. Some have reduced hours but still report high sales. Pizza shops are also reportedly doing very well, some even hiring more delivery drivers.

While some food service businesses are doing well, the dine-in restaurants have faced a larger impact.

Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said he spoke with a representative from a Stringtown Road restaurant that went from 130 employees down to 25.

“It’s pretty much the same with all the major restaurants,” said Stage.

According to Rauch, some establishments have been able to switch to carry-out and delivery, which has helped the bottom line, as has allowing alcohol sales. These establishments have also seen a reduction in hours and furloughed employees.

The industrial businesses overall are faring well. This includes manufacturing and logistics or distribution companies.

“This industry remains pretty healthy,” said Rauch. “Anything that deals with logistics is doing well.”

Commercial and retail businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 response. The retail establishments that remain open have had to reduce hours of operation and furlough some employees. Some retail businesses have been able to offer online sales, or in some cases curb side pickup.

Grocery stores have reported that they are doing well, some are even hiring to keep up with demand. According to Rauch, most grocery stores have not run into issues with the supply chain except for cleaning supplies.

The industries who have seen a more significant impact to business is in the areas of accommodation and service. Some accommodation-based businesses (hotels and lodging) have been closed since the start of April. Of those that remain open are reporting an average of 21.5 percent occupancy.

“That is a very declined occupancy rate,” said Rauch.

The service-based businesses, like beauty salons, childcare centers, movie theaters and fitness centers have been greatly impacted and most have been closed.

“About 35 percent of these types of businesses are critical,” said Rauch.

The development director said dental offices are closed, only seeing patients with an emergency. He said some of these establishments have had to make budget cuts. The only service industry that is reportedly doing well is auto repair shops.

One geographic area in Grove City has been particularly hard hit on the business front – Town Center area businesses, with mostly sole proprietor retail and service shops.

“Their pains are magnified,” said Rauch.

According to Rauch, the retail shops have been significantly impacted by the shut down order, affecting the owner’s ability to pay rent.

The city’s administration offered a list of resources that could be pursued by these small businesses, like loans from Small Business Administration, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program. In addition, Stage said the city’s administration is looking at “more dramatic” funding measures for Town Center businesses but did not elaborate on what that would include.

Councilman Ted Berry suggested using the already established Town Center grant program to help business owners.

“We need to help the small businesses downtown,” he said.

Rauch said the administration was reviewing all options.

For more information on assistance for businesses in Grove City, visit


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