Entrepreneurship

What It's Like To Be a Business Owner During COVID-19

Cheese shop owner Jill Erber on why she's keeping her store open to take care of her customers and her community

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"So many businesses have taken it upon themselves to make lemonade out of lemons, in almost the truest sense, and really turn around and care for their communities for no reason than because they have kitchens and people to cook," says Cheesetique proprietor Jill Erber. "I know it's something that's debated out there. Business has no heart. Business is just about profits. And if the government didn't give people handouts, nobody would help them. I just don't think that's true."

Erber, better known to her neighbors as The Cheese Lady, is the founder of a small chain of "cheese-centric" restaurants and retail cheese and wine shops. With three locations in Northern Virginia, she had a pre-COVID peak of 110 employees. As of late May, she had two locations open with 40–50 employees mostly working retail. Alongside the usual cheese and wine for takeout, she added toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other necessities to her inventory.

Erber is a longtime friend and fellow traveler of Reason. At an event just days before the coronavirus brought normal life in the D.C. metro area to a screeching halt, Erber came by our offices to share some cheese and describe how the trade war being waged by the Trump administration—especially retaliatory tariffs on signature goods from Europe—was harming her business. In a phone conversation 10 weeks later, Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward checked back in with Erber to hear what it's like to be an independent entrepreneur during a pandemic and a trade war and whether the current crisis has changed her outlook.

Reason: Let's start at the beginning. Can you describe when you first heard about coronavirus and realized it was going to be something that impacted your business?

Erber: I'm a believer that if people don't feel comfortable and don't want to shop, they won't, and you could certainly see that happening.

Early on…we were watching very closely how other businesses were responding, to learn from our peers. And one of the very first things that people started doing was crafting their own COVID response statements. We saw those really beginning to explode maybe the first week in March, so we quickly sat down and collected our thoughts and crafted our own. It was a way of not only getting our heads on straight with regard to how we wanted to operate in the stores and make our staff feel safe and protected but also [a way to] let our guests know that they could be safe when they were coming in to shop with us and dine with us.

I think it was March 24 when our dining service was cut off completely by the government mandate. I'll be honest, I could have pictured a model where we had our bar still open and we just put things a little bit further apart and let people come out and have a little bit of a sense of experience again, and a little bit of a sense of escape. We cook for them anyway!

You think you could have served your customers in-person in a way that didn't endanger them?

Yes. People are still operating in ways that don't jive with not being able to dine in a restaurant. There are strange loopholes. Why is this OK and this is not OK?

We're still letting people into our retail store to shop. Some places were like, "Eh, we're just going to close and we'll only allow people to purchase online." To me, that's a disservice to anyone who is not computer savvy, who doesn't have the luxury of having a computer. What we decided we were going to do very early on was provide a safe environment for people to do as much of their shopping as they could—but in a very small environment, so they weren't going to these huge grocery stores. They could come and get everything. That's why we expanded our pipeline instead of shutting down. We grew because we wanted to give people a place that was safe for them to come and shop. It's small enough that we have hourly sanitizing procedures. We limit the number of people coming in. We moved the store all around so people could really not get near one another. But it was all for the purpose of providing more to our guests and not less.

Did you consider keeping your restaurants open and seeing what would happen?

I did only briefly. The most rebellious side of me thought, "Damn them all, they can't!" But at the point where they finally closed us down, we started to see a public response happening to the virus that was very much a mass response. People were so concerned—and still are—about one another and having a safe place for people to work. I think it would have been a public perception mistake to have pushed back on that.

Was there any point where someone in government said: "Hey, you're a business owner. Maybe you know more than regulators know. What do you think?" 

I personally did not have feedback sessions with local representatives, but I know that there must have been some of those conversations happening, because very quickly, at least locally in Alexandria, they tried to be responsive to how businesses were hurting. So some examples of that were closing off parking on the streets in front of businesses to make curbside pickup really easy for customers.

There were things like postponing sales tax payments, so that instead of having to pay your sales tax on schedule, they said, "OK, how about we not make you do that? It's not forgiven, but it's a delay where you can pay later." There did appear to be some sensitivities to the business struggles. But I never got the sense that it was an open forum: "Hey businesses, how do you think? How can we get your voice in here?"

Were there other changes that you had a say in at the community level?

One thing I would say, in this time where so many have been hurt and so many jobs have been lost and people are really struggling, is how much independent businesses have done to help their communities.

That has been something so beautiful that has come out of COVID, if you could call it that. Many people did things like this, so this is not just to talk about what we have done. Right when people started cutting back—it was in the middle of March—we started something called Family Meal Alexandria. We partnered with our vendors, because they had so much food they couldn't use; they weren't selling it anymore. And so we got them to donate all of the food to us instead of giving it to food banks or throwing it away, which is what most of them were doing. We paid our cooks and our chef to cook all the food. And then we hand out free meals every day out of our Del Ray location. And we've been doing that since the end of March.

We've served over 3,300 people. Just Cheesetique, just out of one location, handing out meals every single day by partnering with other businesses like our vendors. We started a GoFundMe page, and our community donated money to help us pay some of our people who were just 100 percent focused on that effort, who weren't working in the restaurant at all. So they were able to work independently, safely, and then also make these meals for people. And we're just one of tons of businesses that have done that.

There's often this thought that if the government doesn't take care of people that nobody will, and that businesses are inherently selfish, and they would not take care of other people if they weren't required to do so.

So many businesses that have taken it upon themselves to make lemonade out of lemons, in almost the truest sense, and really turn around and care for their communities for no reason than because they have kitchens and people to cook. I know it's something that's debated out there. Business has no heart. Business is just about profits. And if the government didn't give people handouts, nobody would help them. I just don't think that's true. There's some beautiful evidence right now to support that.

So while you're helping people, the federal government is also offering you help. There's been a flurry of legislation designed to support business owners, most prominently the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was supposed to incentivize people like you to keep employees on the payroll with government-backed loans that could later be forgiven. Did you participate in those programs?

Being able to understand how to proceed, what to apply for, what we were going to be on the hook for, and how we were supposed to use what we got was so comically unclear. It was almost like someone tried to make it unclear on purpose. It's worse than stereo instructions.

The application is pretty straightforward. It lulls you into this sense that, "Hey, this is here to support small businesses. They get it. Business owners are freaking out right now. They don't know their left from their right. They don't know how to open their doors, whether they can open their doors. They don't know what they're selling anymore. There are people who've worked with them for years, and they're having to let them go. It's been a traumatic thing for business owners."

And then as soon as you got into it, it started to feel like this terrifying IQ test, that if you failed it, you were going to owe the government more money than you even borrowed from them. What if you try your hardest and people just don't want to come back to work for you, because they're getting more on unemployment and emergency unemployment funding from the federal government? What happens then? I don't know how other small businesses are dealing with it, but even with the resources we have between our accountants and our bookkeepers, just trying to figure out how to use these funds has proven to be scary. It became a very non-user-friendly program very quickly.

How is the pandemic influencing the global wine and cheese supply chains that you rely on? Your business was already impacted, even in the pre-coronavirus days, by trade restrictions, right?

Yeah. In the beginning of the year, we were already living in this state of anticipatory fear of what was happening with the tariffs. Would we be able to get things internationally? What would the prices be for these things? We were just starting to see our costs creeping up for tariff-effective items.

It was just starting to become a reality when the virus hit. So in a sense, we were already very heightened to this sense that we might have to rethink what we carry and how we sell it. We were already in a defensive posture because of the tariff situation, so that when COVID came we were not caught off guard. We were prepared to rethink and pivot.

I imagine it's going to be hard to disaggregate what's causing changes in supply and increases in cost at this point: the trade war or the pandemic? 

We will never know, and it will be conveniently disguised as one or the other as suits those who are involved.

We are now in this maximally unpredictable moment, doubly so for business owners. How does that lack of predictability influence your decision-making beyond just the obvious of hunkering down?

This concept of government regulation being unclear, hard to decipher, and hard to maneuver within is nothing new for any business owner anywhere. If you're starting a new business in the perfect economic environment, it's still really hard and confusing and you've got to jump through hoops. This guy tells you one thing and then the other person tells you another. Anytime you're working with regulations, they're inherently confusing and inherently opaque.

Then you add into it a federal level of regulations that typically don't affect the smaller businesses. You're usually much more affected by your local regulations on a daily basis. But all of a sudden, at the end of last year, a lot of smaller businesses were cast into this world of having to understand federal trade regulation. I don't even know that the greatest trade experts fully understand all of the impacts.

Then we went from having to understand that massively opaque operation to having to shift and understand PPP. Rule of law means nothing if the law is unclear and you don't know how to follow it. It feels like we're just figuring things out as we go and, "I hope we didn't do that wrong—"

Meaning you hope you didn't do something illegal?

How many interim final rules have there been as regards to the PPP? I don't even know.

It's probably just made people feel very helpless and unclear on how they should operate. At the same time, local regulations seem to be loosening to a certain extent, which I find very welcome and yet mystifying at the same time. Because if it's OK to reduce [local] regulation now, why do we need so much local regulation in the first place?

The [Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control] regulation, for instance: The pandemic is here and, well, heck, you can deliver hard liquor wherever you want to go and sell it to whoever you want! Suddenly all the regulations are being loosened, which for a business is great. But it does make you wonder: Do we need to put them all back? It will be very interesting to see how everyone responds to being re-regulated, at least at the local level, when this all passes.

I think the confusion about what is coming down the pipeline is really, really damaging. It's not only what does today look like and how hard is today, but it's what's going to happen in two weeks? And is it going to turn out that I did all this for nothing? I worked so hard to do the right thing with my PPP funds, and then it turns out I didn't need to do all that? Or will it turn out that new regulations are going to come down that are going to be even more restrictive?

Has the experience of the pandemic changed your politics at all? Or your thoughts about being an entrepreneur?

I am more fiercely pro-business than I have ever been in my entire life. The miracles that I have seen people accomplish with nothing. People who are just running their own little thing and within weeks have these amazing pivots of being able to sell things that they never sold before to people that they'd never worked with before. The number of people that wanted to volunteer with Family Meal Alexandria—former employees of ours that don't even work for us anymore. Not people who left because of COVID, but people from long ago who came back and said, "This is a chance for me to work again alongside people that I love, and I can help my community."

It heartened me a lot, because I saw very few businesses just give up. They're so scrappy. It's amazing to watch how entrepreneurs, they just don't give up. It's the weirdest thing. They don't quit; they just change what they're doing. And I hope that many, many, many of them are able to persevere.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity.

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    2. And ELizabeth Nolan Brown will save you if Shreika does not.

  3. Corona virus killed so many small business companies, it start ups and new deals are not in discussions as situation out of control. Hope good time come soon..

    Thanks
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    1. This is actually a great time for a technical start-up: you always lose money during the initial development phase and the poor market hurts your established competition. I was part of a software start-up when the dot-com crash came along and it turned out to be a boon for companies like us.

  4. It’s amazing to watch how entrepreneurs, they just don’t give up.

    That’s what Antifa and BLM and The Squad are for, they’re done fucking around and trying to “nudge” you into socialism. I hope cheese lady there has a stockpile of weapons and knows how to use them because it ain’t government regulation you’ve got to worry about at this point.

    1. I’ve been told the groups you mention are all peaceful protestors outside of 1 or 2 people around the nation. For example the 50 days or riots in Portland arent actually riots. The doubling of murder and assaults on those cities are not correlated to the riots, I mean protests. The millions of dollars on damage are simply okay because they have insurance and we cant blame the rioters, I mean protestors.

      Sure it looks like the NAP has been violated due to the wanton destruction and violence, but according to many of our most moral libertarians on this site, that is fine because arresting these people are worse. Their views are totally not anarchist lite and true libertarianism. Tyranny of the majority is now fine, as long as you agree with them. And dont you dare call them marxists even if they themselves call themselves marxists. The true libertarians on this site have spoken. Agree with them or you will be shut down. Jeff has spoken.

      1. I for one have not told you that, I have said that there are some rioters, looters, vandals, but most protestors are peaceful, and you refuse to acknowledge any mixture whatsoever. You insist it is all criminals. Your comment here is more of the same.

        1. If every time you show up to “protest” a riot breaks out, because your gathering creates the conditions rioting requires, then you’re not acting peacefully – you’ve made the decision that you will help create a riot. By sticking around after the riots start, you’ve made the decision that you will aid the rioters by continuing to associate with them.

          It isn’t like the rioting is a one off thing. Riots have been a repeated and consistent occurrence at these crying orgies of mass Karening for almost 2 months now.

          There are no legitimate “protesters” anymore. They’ve been used as cover for straight up terrorism too many times for too long now.

          You think these people are your allies in the quest to end police brutality (which, if we’re being honest, 99% of the population has never experienced)?
          Good luck with that.
          You’re going to be somehow surprised when your “victory” leads to gulags and pogroms. It’s not like there aren’t examples of exactly how the “protesters” will behave if they’re successful in their goal, the most notable being the murdered 16 year old in Seattle and the 8 year old in Atlanta. And that’s not even getting into the historical record of totalitarian leftism.

          You see the crime and violence rates that have sky rocketed? I’m sure it has nothing to do with police pullback and bail reforms you’re so fond of.

          The Karen’s throwing their months long temper tantrums can fuck right off

          1. http://twitter.com/mt_lass/status/1284723839826444288?s=19

            “If they start shooting, stand behind me” reads the t-shirt of a woman holding (I assume, but who knows) her toddler

          2. As with most things, the percentage of bad actors is small. But go ahead and dehumanize them. It’s the first step towards massacring them with a clear conscience. Not that you actually have a conscience. I’m talking about people who do.

            1. You should always remember not to dehumanize someone as they are peaceful bashing your skull in.

              1. Yeah, because that’s what all the protesters are doing.

                1. And all Mexicans are rapists. The Con Man said so.

            2. There is a middle ground between massacring them and doing absolutely nothing to stop the mayhem and anarchy like you left-wing shitbags apparently want.

              1. I’m left wing? Hahahahaha!

                1. Yes. You love Obama, communist China, and America-hating terrorists.

                  Own it, bitch.

                  1. That’s news to me. Maybe you should try responding to what I say instead of the voices in your head.

        2. Shhhhh! He’s got the straw man on the ropes!

          1. That’s rich, coming from you.

              1. Wow, lol.
                Ad hominem is where you try to deflect and redirect by attacking the person rather than the argument, which is sorta what you were doing. I pointed out your hypocrisy in doing so which is my argument.

                You’re so shit at this. Media Matters really needs to ask for its fifty cents back.

                1. I’m pointing out that he’s responding to an argument nobody is making, as in a straw man, and you respond with a personal attack. A definition ad hominem. Then you add more personal attacks. Dude, if it wasn’t for ad hominems, you’d have no arguments at all.

                  1. And all you do anymore is cry and sock.

                    1. The funniest part is that I’ve never socked. An imposter with many socks has ruined my reputation, and I’ve never used any handle other than this one. Ha ha. Joke’s on me.

                    2. So if I complain about being socked I’m crying, and when an imposter uses my handle I’m somehow to blame too. Ok dude.

                    3. Eh, I’ll take your word for it then.

    2. Socialism and cheese: brie for the elite party members, and government processed cheese food for the masses (when available).

      1. Brie? I don’t know why people eat that tasteless crap. Give me an aged Gouda, or some Comte. I just bought some Dubliner yesterday. A friend gave me a processed cheddar with truffle bits. I’m meh but my daughter loves it. Did I mention that I’m lactose intolerant? Excuse me while I rip a thunderous fart.

        1. Disagree. A fresh Brie de Meaux is excellent, rich, and tasting very much of where it came from. It changes in flavor too, depending on how long it ripens.

          The supermarket crap? I agree with you.

          1. Oh, and where to try the good stuff? IIRC, you’re near Maine. The Cheese Iron, right on Route 1 in Scarborough, is well worth your time if you like great cheese. Go up a few miles to Allagash, while you’re at it.

            1. Oh dude, I love that place. They introduced me to a washed rind cheese from Vermont with an orange rind. Smells like a dumpster. So good.

              1. So you visit my mom despite her having some sort of chronic ghastly odor. What’s the matter, can’t find a Renaissance fair wench to jack you off while you play Call of Duty?

        2. Brie builds texture and enhances the other cheese flavors, expecially in a bashemel

    3. Whole article where Erber talks about difficulty of dealing with regulations, and expresses not one worry about fringe extremist groups — but sure, let’s randomly make this thread a debate about BLM, too.

    4. You guys blamed the 2008 financial crisis on black people too. It’s kind of a theme, huh?

      1. “You guys blamed the 2008 financial crisis on black people too. It’s kind of a theme, huh?”

        Cite missing, shitstain.

      2. Then as now, the problem is the government you felate so much.

        Of course a racist piece of trash like you has to assume that black people are being blamed because you think they are infants who need your white knighting.

        1. Of all the powerful interests that shared blame, you managed to single out the ones that involve poor black people. It was grotesque.

  5. There are strange loopholes. Why is this OK and this is not OK?

    Well, we’re constantly told it’s because of Data and Science, so it can’t be due to Bureaucracy and Stupidity.

    1. Because FYTW. Duh.

  6. But what happens when the people learn that cheese is made with…germs?

    1. Karen will screech until all cheese wheels wear a cheap disposable mask.

      1. *** makes mask from a slice of “American cheese” ***

        *** dons mask ***

        *** patents the edible mask ***

        1. Some Lawyers from Kraft would like to speak with you.

  7. It’s all bullshit. You know she is still serving customers taking advantage of innocent victims and making evil profitz.

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  9. Trump supporters have made it clear that trade wars benefit businesses. So she’s obviously spinning a yarn when she says tariffs raised prices.

    1. If I understand the argument, the gains are supposed to be long-term with short term pain. So, cheese shop owners and such have to suck it up and endure pain in service to the great end, which will come some day.

    2. The point of the tariffs were to make businesses like her, rely less on imported cheese and wine and instead buy cheese and wine from US producers.

      1. Well at least you admit that it’s about “nudging” consumers into buying what you think is good for them because they’re too stupid to make their own choices.

      2. So I can’t have any decent cheese because Trump needs to be seen humping the flag.

        1. You can have it. It just costs more. So you’re supposed to choose the domestic knockoff because tariffs have made the real thing unreasonably priced.

        2. “So I can’t have any decent cheese because Trump needs to be seen humping the flag.”

          Keep your erotic fantasies to yourself, shitstain.

          1. You know that when he’s actually humping the flag (he does that), he’s displaying his utter contempt for you and the rest of his redneck fanboys?

            King of the inbred neoconfederate hillbillies, that’s what he always dreamt of being from his gilded penthouse, I’m sure.

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  11. Ms. Erber is smart business person and it appears likely she will survive the pandemic. I have seen a number of businesses that are successfully navigating these difficult times. Most are very customer centric and tech savvy. If your philosophy is I have been doing like this for 10, 20, 30 years and I am not changing, then you a goner.

    1. Anyone operating like that was a goner anyway. The pandemic just a accelerated the inevitable.

  12. Due to COVID 19, most of the business has been affected. How can we survive in this pandemic situation?

    1. Get rid of all the democrats and redistribute their stuff to their victims? Democrats like redistribution of wealth, so they should be ok with this.

      1. Last I checked, the Republican Part are also guardians of Social Security and Medicare, our biggest redistribution programs.

        1. Yeah, and removing free-shit programs is tough.
          Wanna tell us where they started, or does that disturb your ‘wa’, oh arbiter of equality?

  13. If you think business has been tough for small business owners, try being a slut!

  14. Bernie Sanders and his Squad say you have too many varieties of cheese and wine. Nobody needs that.

    1. Aren’t there enough real things to criticize about Bernie Sanders and The Squad without extra fictional ones?

      1. I supposed you missed:
        “Bernie Sanders: Don’t Need 23 Choices of Deodorant, 18 Choices of Sneakers When Kids Are Going Hungry”
        https://reason.com/2015/05/26/bernie-sanders-dont-need-23-choices-of-d/

        1. Bernie doesn’t need 23 choices of deodorant, but he does need 3 choices of mansions to stay in

      2. I mean Bernie is even more of a protectionist than Trump is…

        1. Pretty sure WK has arrived here recently and is driven to use her/his superior intellect to make sure we all know how intelligent s/he is!
          I’m impressed!

  15. This article reminded me how important it is to go out of your way to support small businesses right now.

    1. That depends on the small business’ conduct.

      If Cheesetique is operating responsibly, I hope people support it strenuously and that it succeeds.

      If it is operating irresponsibly and contributing to the pandemic — not requiring masks, not enforcing social distancing, flouting public health orders — I hope it experiences bankruptcy and closure.

      Let’s hope it is operating responsibly and that its community appreciates that.

      1. Because if someone don’t follow the Democrats’ trendy rules du jour for a temporary problem then they deserve to permanently suffer

        1. Just easier to get rid of the democrats.

        2. I hope you’re not bitching when the pandemic in the US is still going on long after the rest of the world eased restrictions because you couldn’t just wear a fucking mask like a sane adult.

          1. I hope you don’t think anyone reads that stinking pile of shit as other than some fantasy on your part.

          2. Dont worry. I always wear a mask, especially when I visit your mom.

      2. “…If it is operating irresponsibly and contributing to the pandemic — not requiring masks, not enforcing social distancing, flouting public health orders — I hope it experiences bankruptcy and closure…”

        I personally hope she’s running black-market operations in opposition to venal thugs like you and that she makes a bundle doing so.
        Further, I hope you lose whatever tiny bit of wealth you have and end up on the street, asshole bigot.

      3. No, you support a business because you like the product or service, not because you like their conduct. If you go by conduct and apply that consistently they you will be exceedingly poor.

  16. What small business owners have learned since February:

    That small business isn’t as “theirs” as they thought.

    1. Should I think the same thing about my car every time “the man” expects me to stop at a red light, or respect a center line, or refrain from parking in an intersection?

      1. Depends: is it July 15th this year?

      2. “Should I think the same thing about my car every time “the man” expects me to stop at a red light, or respect a center line, or refrain from parking in an intersection?”

        Are we supposed to take that stinking pile of shit as other than the strawman invention of an asshole bigot?

        1. Evergreen comment when replying to the rev.

          1. Where we you, ElvisIsReal, when it finally dawned on you Trump is going to get stomped by Biden in November, and that the Republicans likely will lose the Senate, enabling Democrats to enlarge the Supreme Court if they wish?

            1. I was right here on Reason when I realized I need to get weed from the same place you do.

            2. “Where we you, ElvisIsReal, when it finally dawned on you Trump is going to get stomped by Biden in November, and that the Republicans likely will lose the Senate, enabling Democrats to enlarge the Supreme Court if they wish?”

              You have an active fantasy life, asshole bigot.

    2. Wasn’t there something about “She didn’t build that”?

  17. Was there any point where someone in government said: “Hey, you’re a business owner. Maybe you know more than regulators know. What do you think?”

    Awwww, that’s cute.

  18. OT:

    WRT the national mask mandate that progs want…..
    Right after screeching about the federal law enforcement brutality in Portland….really? Aren’t the “peaceful protesters” going to start putting 2 and 2 together? The Democrats are literally trying to find new ways to increase the incidents of police brutality. I mean I know the protesters aren’t the brightest bulbs in the drawer, but the Dems are really taking advantage of the situation. Before they would at least wait a few weeks before contradicting themselves.

    1. That just put two and two together, and came up with 22.

    2. I would guess that most Democrats running for office hope the protests go away. Who wants that kind of wild card when there’s an election coming?

      The Democrats are not actually in an Illuminati conspiracy to make you wear a mask and make fun of you for looking like a nerd like happened to you so many times in school. But if you actually believe this is all a master plan to enslave you to Al Sharpton, surely you can appreciate that, fucking dumb as he is, the actual president has some actual power, not to mention responsibility for when the country is going to shit.

      But that’s why you cheer tanks in the street to deal with people exercising first amendment rights. Because your favorite government goon is dealing with the problem you care about. Or that you’re told to care about by flapping jaws on rightwing media.

      1. I don’t believe that lap83 ever advocated for tanks to be used against protesters. Come on Tony, I used to argue that you were honest in your arguments. You’ve devolved into another troll.

        1. In the 2 and half years I’ve been visiting this site, Tony’s arguments have only very rarely been honest.
          They are, however, quite sincere

          1. “…They are, however, quite sincere.”

            Perhaps, but sincerity really is irrelevant if you wish to arrive at an answer which helps.
            Sincere bullshit is of no help to anyone.

          2. How dare you. I am rarely sincere.

        2. Okay, ask one of these goobers if they want to stop before we get to the tanks. Understand these people have actually been led to believe that anarchic gangs of BLM protesters is the biggest threat to the survival of the nation right now.

  19. A wine and cheese shop? Doesn’t Reason know any gun shop owners?

    1. No gun shops allowed inside the beltway, so…no.

  20. “…before the coronavirus brought normal life in the D.C. metro area to a screeching halt…”
    I know reason writers get a lot of crap over their writing, and I don’t wish to be pedantic, but the truth is that the pandemic didn’t bring anything to a halt, rather it was the hysterical overreaction caused by media sensationalism, and the wish to use the pandemic against the president (by the Democrats and their propagandists in the media), that “brought normal life in the D.C. metro area to a screeching halt.” You should describe the situation accurately.

    1. ^

      It’s amazing that we’re still treating the virus like it’s a crisis

      1. Nope.
        The Ds are still hoping to blame Trump for *MASSIVE* (1/10 of 1/2 of 1% of the US population) deaths, since he didn’t do what he wasn’t allowed to do then!

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  24. Gun stores have been selling out of all their stock.
    As soon as they get any guns or ammo in, then it is immediately sold out at ever higher prices.
    This has been the best year for gun stores.
    Even better than all 8 years of panic buying under Obama.
    So…some sectors of the economy are doing well.
    In spite of the hysterical response to corona virus

    1. War is good for business.
      Peace is good for business.
      Pandemics are good for business.
      What’s really good for business: scary black people on TV.

      –The gun lobby

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  28. What small business owners have learned since February:
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  29. Priority on small businesses does have the future.
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