HJB Convenience Corp. President Raymond Huff, in partnership with StrasGlobal’s new resource for independent convenience store operators, Resources for Retailers, shared an independent retailer’s story of persistence and the course of action he took to stay in business with the Payroll Protection Programs (PPP1, PPP2) and Employee Retention Credit (ERC) funding.
Colorado-based HJB Convenience Corp., formed in 2004, does business as Russell’s Convenience and Russell’s Xpress, which specializes in tenant convenience stores in the central business district of Denver, Los Angeles, Detroit and San Francisco. HJB operates one traditional convenience store in Honolulu, Hi.
“My convenience stores in downtown Denver saw a sales drop 80% or more since March 2020. But with PPP and ERC funding, I have been able to pay my employees and keep 16 locations open,” said Huff. “My message to all small operators like me is that it’s not too late. You have to be aggressive reaching out to make sure your company gets the resources available. I reached out to my state congressmen, senators and my mayor. I reached out to my local bank. I worked with my accountant and reached out to my payroll company to make sure I got loan forgiveness.”
“Ray contacted us because he wants to share his story of hope and action with fellow independent operators,” said Jessica Williams, director of RfR. “Ray’s approach can be a template for other retailers who can take similar action right away and potentially save their businesses.”
Actionable highlights of the video Conversation with Independent Operator Raymond Huff include:
- Be Curious: Speak to fellow business owners in your community to learn from one another and get results
- Be Proactive: Local bank relationships can work in your favor for faster access to funding
- Be Aggressive: Ask what you really need to stay in business
- Be Persistent: Work with your accountant and payroll company to insure loan forgiveness
- Stay Open: With ERC funds you can put money back into your account that you’ve already paid your employees
“We can learn a lot from Ray,” said StrasGlobal President Eva Strasburger. “If you’re an independent business owner and your sales have been affected by COVID-19, there’s still money out there to keep your business open.”
Resources for Retailers (RfR) is a knowledge center and community for retailers who want access to resources usually available only to the large operators. RfR will also offer benefits such as buying groups, share groups, and various consulting, marketing and operations support services.
The “RfR Dispatch” newsletter delivers ‘how-to’ best practices with real-world, actionable takeaways written by subject matter experts. RfR’s mission is to level the retail playing field by providing small retailers with best in industry ideas and programs.