New businesses face delays due to coronavirus pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Investors are having to deal with delays in construction and opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now some are concerned over making ends meet.

Ken Olds’ vision for Muggin’ Coffee House in Whitehaven is far from a reality.

“COVID-19 happened, so that kind of slowed our construction, as well as our opening time,” Olds said.   

Olds and his wife had hoped to open in the spring. They'd hired eight employees and were about to train them when Memphis businesses were forced to shut down.

“You know, we're still making payments and we still have overhead we have to cover. We have to handle the construction,” Olds said.

Olds says he's thankful his family, construction crews and his lender are understanding of his situation. He’s hoping it’ll turn around soon.

We believe in this neighborhood, we believe in Whitehaven, we believe in the vision and we believe that we want to get past this,” Olds said.

In East Memphis, Dave Krog is also dealing with delays in opening Dory Restaurant .

“There was a lot of code stuff that had to go through. There were a lot of engineering hiccups throughout, which delayed us in even getting out permit for a few months,” Krog said.

Krog says the city-wide shut down is actually a “blessing in disguise” for him.

“We were shooting for an April 30th soft opening, and with the shutdown it makes absolutely no sense. So, it gives us a little more time,” Krog said.

A little more time to iron out details and keep him from laying off the 20 employees he just hired. Krog says he's not willing to open the doors until it's safe to do so.

“We will take our cues from the restaurants that are already "established," and as they open up we'll know whether it's safe enough for us to open up,” Krog said.

Jeff Johnson owns Parish Grocery in Midtown. It opened its doors for the first time during the stay-at-home order.

“I can only imagine for a lot of other businesses it's been a very trying time,” Johnson said.

Like all restaurants, Parish Grocery is only offering take out and a limited menu. Johnson agrees no one should rush to reopen. He says the risk is too great.

“If we just ‘hunker down’ a little bit longer, maybe we'll be a little safer in the long run,” Johnson said.

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