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Smaller shops bracing for massive coronavirus hit

"400 different restaurants and they all closed down,” JV Foods co-owner Tim Bordes said. “We don’t have anybody to sell things to."

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans area businesses are bracing for a massive hit to the economy as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Some tourism-based companies are already hurting.

Uncertainty is real at JV Foods in Kenner.

“We deliver to all the restaurants around the south, 400 different restaurants and they all closed down,” JV Foods co-owner Tim Bordes said. “We don’t have anybody to sell things to.”

Bordes has $250,000 worth of meat, fruit and seafood in his warehouse near Armstrong International Airport.

Suddenly his one-year-old business has no orders to fill.

“Two weeks ago we have a thriving business that was rolling and then all of a sudden everything shuts down and we just have to stop what we’re doing,” Bortes said. “I don’t know how to continue to pay people. We don’t know if the people we sold products to are going to continue to pay us.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards ordered bars, restaurant dining rooms and other public places like gyms and shopping malls to shut down.

This in an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

“We’ve got a lot of folks who are going to be on the margins here who need our support and nonprofits provide that support,” Greater New Orleans Foundation President and CEO Andy Kopplin said.

GNOF is asking people to donate to a special Coronavirus Response and Restoration Fund.

The money would go to nonprofits now helping businesses and people during this State of Emergency.

“We’ve got just tremendous nonprofit organizations who really provide healthcare, who provide services to the homeless who provides food, who support small businesses and support our families,” Kopplin said. “We’re trying to make sure that those nonprofits that are on the front lines, supporting people in need have the resources they need to do their jobs.”

New Orleans Business Alliance President Quentin Messer is hoping to raise half a million dollars for people who work part-time gigs.

“These are traditionally 10-99 employees,” Messer said. “Folks who are contractors. They drive for Lyft or drive for Uber, they work the festivals.”

Messer called the economic challenges unprecedented, particularly for this group of workers.

“If there’s any city that has proven time and time again, resiliency and an ability to bounce back in the face of all adversity it’s certainly New Orleans and all of Louisiana,” Messer said.

Back in Kenner, JV Foods is hoping to make it back, but Tim Bordes tells us whether his business ultimately survives depends in large measure on how long this public health measure lasts and how quickly the tourism economy rebounds.

“We started doing home deliveries,” Bordes said. “We put emails and texts out to some people to try and get some products around, but we have coolers full of products right now. Just everything is uncertain right now.”

If you want to contact JV Foods, click on the business’s Facebook page or call 504-416-7228.

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