Ma and Pa Stores Were Closed Down While Big Box Stores Stayed Open

Local Ma and Pa hardware store closed down during COVID-19 pandemic
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Local Ma and Pa hardware store closed down during COVID-19 pandemic

It was a confusing time for small business owners as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States. On the one hand, they were being told to shut down to slow the spread of the virus. On the other hand, big box stores were allowed to remain open, seemingly without consequence.

This double standard was met with frustration from small business owners, who saw it as a blatant example of hypocrisy. They were being told to sacrifice their livelihoods for the greater good, while the big corporations were allowed to continue raking in profits.

Why were big box stores able to stay open while the small businesses were forced to close? To understand this paradox, we must examine the role that these stores play in our economy and society.

Big box stores like Walmart and Target were considered essential businesses, meaning that they provide goods and services that are necessary for the daily functioning of our society. These stores are often the only source of groceries and other household items in rural or low-income areas, and they serve as a lifeline for many people who rely on them for necessities.

But for many small business owners, the decision to keep the big box stores open while forcing them to close was a bitter pill to swallow. These businesses, which often had limited resources and thin profit margins to begin with, were now being hit hard by the pandemic. Many were forced to lay off employees or close their doors for good.

The hypocrisy of this situation was not lost on the public, who took to social media in an effort to to express their outrage. The hashtag #smallbusinessmatters trended, as people called on the government to provide financial assistance for these struggling businesses.

And indeed, the government did eventually step in with programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. These initiatives provided much-needed financial relief to small businesses, helping them to weather the storm of the pandemic. However, for many small businesses, the damage had already been done.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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