Some small businesses ask for rent relief to survive

Hot Spot Tanning Salon
Hot Spot Tanning
Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 19:45:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Small businesses make up the fabric of many communities, and some owners tell 41 Action News they don't know if they can make it much longer without more financial relief.

"Right now, I’m just trying to make it to 30 years in business," said Josephine Burkholder, the owner of Hot Spot Tanning Salon in Waldo.

She's had to adapt by limiting clients inside as part of COVID-19 precautions. As a result, business has cooled off, and she fears she may soon have to turn the lights off.

"My heart would break if I had to close because of something like this," Burkholder said.

She came up with an idea for some relief and asked her landlord if, like people who rent an apartment or home, she could get a rent reduction to help with expenses. Burkholder said she experienced the benefit of that relief from a different landlord during a separate crisis.

"He offered us all 25% off rate reduction for one year," she said. "It kept me in business in 2008 when it crashed."

Burkholer said as things stand right now, she doesn't even know if she can make it to Christmas.

"It’s my worst nightmare to not be able to live out my 30 years in business as a small business owner," Burkholder said.

It's pain felt by several other small businesses, including Ara's Oriental Rug Gallery.

"It’s been challenging times, definitely," owner Elizabeth Zakaryan said.

Like many business, Zakaryan said she would welcome any additional relief. In the meantime, she hopes customers will shop local.

"If you stay consistent and you do the hard work, hopefully people can come back," Zakaryan said.

Both business owners are leaning on hope in these challenging times.

"But I’m an optimist and I’m going to make it if I have to do or die," Burkholder said.

41 Action News did reach out to Burkholder's landlord, who didn't provide a comment on the rent relief plan.

The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.

Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.

Need a job? Be sure to visit our local jobs board powered by Indeed.