Rep. Sharice Davids discusses COVID-19 pandemic with Overland Park business owners

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 16:59:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Without federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, some Overland Park business owners said they wouldn’t have made it through the past year.

“We shut down completely for about a month at the beginning of the pandemic, and that federal aid helped us deal with outstanding bills and be able to bring staff back,” Elaine Van Buskirk and Jan Knobel, co-owners of The Upper Crust, said in a news release. “Now, we’re back to baking and serving the community we love full-time.”

Buskirk and Knobel were among the small business owners who met with Rep. Sharice Davids Friday to discuss the pandemic and its effect on their work.

“I know reopening our economy is not a light switch, so I’ll continue to advocate for small businesses to get the support they need,” Davids said in the release. “That’s why conversations like today’s are so important, and I’m going to keep listening to our local business owners and putting them at the forefront of our economic recovery efforts.”

Michael Cole, who owns The General Store, said the Kansas Small Business Development Center was “crucial” in helping him apply for loans and grants.

“We are grateful for their help and the help of these federal aid programs, which allowed us to continue serving our community through an incredibly difficult time,” Cole said.

Others, like Popculture owner Justin Woo, had to adjust their business model because of the pandemic.

“The PPP loan we received allowed us to stabilize the business while we figured out how to proceed and keep our staff safe,” Woo said. “We’ve now been able to bring back nearly all our staff and expand our locations in Kansas and Missouri, thanks in part to the federal relief we received last year.”

Davids also hosted a round table with the business owners to discuss what hurdles lie ahead as the community rebounds from the pandemic.