Five years ago, my husband and I opened Old Towne Strings on the North Side of La Crosse to provide a comfortable place for folks to come together in the music community.
Our family’s passion for music was made real in a physical space, and we have loved welcoming musicians from across the Driftless Region.
The lack of musical performances and schools going remote have impacted business significantly. Without the gigs they rely on for income, our customers don’t have the resources to shop at our store.
We are grateful for very generous support from the community, and we're lucky to be among few micro-businesses that received a modest PPP loan, but it has been incredibly difficult.
The politicization of COVID-19 is discouraging. Like many fellow small businesses, we have taken steps to keep our customers and community safe, but we need stronger leadership from Washington to ensure we can stay in business and continue to serve musicians in the region.
Like most working people -- and especially working parents -- we’re juggling a lot. On top of the immediate health threat of COVID-19, we are homeschooling our children, one of whom is Autistic, and I’ve had to take on another job to supplement our income due to declining business.
President Trump, do your job. Congress, please bring back the $600 unemployment insurance and provide more support. It doesn't have to be this way. Let's beat this virus, together.
Joella Striebel, La Crosse
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