The Annapolis business owners discuss with the Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff the decisions they had to make early in the pandemic.

It’s 10:12 a.m. and the Annapolis business owners are discussing the decisions they had to make early in the pandemic. Spencer Jones took over his father’s business, Chick & Ruth’s Delly, early in 2021, right before the pandemic hit.

He said PPP helped assure him the decades-old Main Street business would survive.

Roxana Rodriguez, the owner of Caliente Grill, said she thought her business was done for after they closed doors on March 16.

As more businesses open, we compete with corporations that provide benefits to employees, Rodriguez said. She and other business owners are discussing the challenges facing them: higher cost of products and difficultly staffing fully.

Jones said he is raising the salaries of some of his employees to help attract and retain staff.

It’s 10:22 a.m. and the round table discussion is wrapping up.

Sen. Ben Cardin has the last word. Said loans for very small businesses and new restaurants are a priority for the Biden/Harris team as well as Congress.

“Your feedback really helps us, because you are the targets we’re trying to help,” Cardin said. Calls Annapolis indicative of Main Street America, the “real” small businesses Congress is trying to help.

Emhoff thanked everyone for their feedback.

“Nothing’s going to keep us down,” Emhoff said. “And this is the story of our country, and this is why you need a partner in government. Government is there to work for the citizens.”

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