Business

Curbside not working and unfair, laments Shoe Depot president

Shoe Depot could close its doors next week in order to preserve cash flow, until businesses are able to predict how to run their operations, the store’s President Egan Kemp said yesterday, adding that weekend lockdowns have cut away 50 percent of the company’s weekly sales, while the mandated curbside shopping simply does not work for the sale of shoes.

Kemp said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ on and off lockdowns have forced him to terminate more than half of his full-time employees and has forced him to consider not opening next week, because the money to pay salaries is now hard to come by, especially since a large portion of the company’s money was made on Saturdays, when they are ordered to be closed.

“We’re gonna look at the numbers at the end of the week, but I might not open next week just because I’m actually losing money instead of making money,” said Kemp.

“It’s cheaper for me to turn off the lights, turn off the air conditioners and save the salaries, because we can’t even cover the few salaries that we have. It’s just an impossible system.

“Since the lockdown the government has forced me, for the first time in my life, to terminate over half of my staff already, permanently. So we went from 45, I think we’re down to just about 20 now.”

Kemp added that there should be no difference in the treatment of food stores and other retail businesses considered non-essential, because the concept of separating bodies per square foot can apply to them as well.

“We feel it’s very unfair because what’s the medical reason and difference between persons congregating in our store per square foot, versus persons congregating in the food store per square foot?

“So, I don’t see where the government is able to medically show how that exposure at that business is different than businesses that are not essential.”

Kemp said rent and other obligations are continuing to drain Shoe Depot’s cash reserves.

Manager of Rubins Palmdale Wanda Cartwright said yesterday that curbside sales are “not going” and that with clothing, “you cannot curbside at all”.

“People cannot look at clothes and try them on. They can’t pick what they want,” said Cartwright.

“Each one of us would have to take each item to the door for them to see.”

Cartwright said the store has had dismal business since it had to restart curbside sales.

“You can’t pay your rent, you can’t pay your staff,” she said. “There’s no way you can survive on that.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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