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Financial fallout leads to mental health struggles for small business owners

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:54 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:17 PM CST
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DeFOREST, Wis. (WMTV) - The financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to strain on mental health for business owners in Wisconsin.

“Financially, in the beginning, it was terrifying,” Romni Pullen, owner of Rose Cottage Floral and Gifts said.

The past eight months have been challenging for Pullen and her store for many reasons.

“Were we an essential business, were we allowed to stay open, were we allowed to deliver?” Pullen asked. “It really takes a toll on your brain.”

Not knowing how policy will change on any given day, has led to stress and anxiety, which Pullen said only grows while trying to adapt to stay in business.

“It was very mentally challenging,” Pullen said. “You heard of all these opportunities to get help, some of them, the mountains of paperwork were very overwhelming, some of them, I think you had to be a scientist or a lawyer to understand the directions.”

Peggy Gunderson, the Vice Chair of the Wisconsin small business regulatory review board, said Wisconsin is at risk of losing more than just storefronts.

“In Dane County alone, that I know of there are three business owners who have not been able to see past this pandemic into [survival], and they’ve taken their lives,” Gunderson said.

She wants to see more money for local businesses, both from customers and legislators.

“We’ve got to get some of this money into their pockets, and that will relieve some of the financial and mental strain,” Gunderson said.

As for Pullen, until relief comes her way, she’s been able to flourish with community support.

“When people come in here and they’re so happy to be able to buy a couple of stems of flowers for a neighbor who can’t get out or we’re able to do something for the community,” Pullen said. “Those things really get you through it.”

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