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'It's really scary.' Small businesses impacted by tornado, now crippled by COVID-19

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Posted at 6:28 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 19:20:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — COVID-19 is a one-two punch for Nashville small businesses impacted by the tornado.

"The economic impact has been very severe," said Kerbie Howat, owner of Flora Plant Shop.

Flora Plant Shop in East Nashville was not physically damaged by the tornado on Super Tuesday, but it was financially.

Sales have dropped about 52% in the last two weeks.

"When you think about running a business and the risk that you're taking on, you do not consider natural disasters, especially not two in a row," Howat said.

Howat has seen fewer people in both of her stores. In East Nashville on E. Trinity Lane and in Franklin on W. Main Street.

"People want to give their money [to] other places, they're busy volunteering, they're out of work too. People lost their homes, their businesses, it's understandable," she said.

She recognizes plants are a discretionary expense. Unfortunately, back-to-back disasters have crippled her business.

"We are a direct sales company. In order to earn an income we have to get our product into people's hands," she said.

Flora Plant Shop is offering curbside store pick-up and free porch delivery to people in four zip codes: 37206, 37207, 37216 and 37064. There is also a 10% discount on all gift cards.