SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A downtown Savannah business will close their doors after 30 years of business. The owners say this came earlier than they’d planned and it’s giving them an early push to retirement.
Mom and pop shops are closing all over the country due to COVID-19. Gina’s Beauty Supply in downtown Savannah will only be open for a few more weeks.
Phyllis Jones has been a customer for more than 20 years.
“They’re like a part of the family so it’s like being home,” Jones said.
Many customers walking past Gina’s Beauty on the corner of Whitaker and Broughton Street said they had to stop in one last time before the beauty supply store closes on March 31.
“They’re going to be missed. I’m like it’s kind of hard to believe. I’m just like really!” Jones said.
The mom and pop shop has been around for the last three decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another small business that wasn’t quite ready to go.
“Since COVID we really have reduced a lot of customers so we have decided it’s the right time to retire,” Owner, Michael Rhee said.
It’s an early retirement many people would be happy to get, and these two are. Michael and Sandra Rhee said they’ve put their all into running a successful business. But the economic decline was too much for them to recover while losing percentages of their income overtime.
“Some months was like a 25-30% and some months it was like a 45-50%. It’s like an up and down,” Rhee said.
A boost of help from the federal government was more than needed. Gina’s Beauty received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that came from the CARES Act. The loan program helped businesses with coronavirus aid to make it through, but many businesses didn’t.
“We really appreciate the U.S. government to give us a chance to recover a little bit,” Rhee said.
Now with only a few weeks left open all they can do is take in the last 30 years of memories.
“Several times a lot of customers have come over and they’ve said we served their three generations, so we’ve enjoyed it,” Rhee said.
The Rhee’s told News 3 the PPP loan helped them survive for a little while longer helping them to pay the rent and other bills.
The closure is only partially due to the pandemic, but it’s still a business many will miss seeing on Broughton Street.