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Small business woes: 20 percent of downtown businesses lost

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Evers announced more funding for small business support Thursday. Genna's Cocktail Lounge by Capitol Square hopes to receive some of those funds.

Faithful customer, Clay Konnor, calls Genna's the "living room of Madison."

"It's been a central meeting place for so many friends over decades," he said.

A fixture on Capitol Square since 1993, Genna's roots date back even earlier to when it first opened on University Avenue in 1964.

They'd been able to survive through the summer and fall, but in a Facebook post on Thursday, Genna's announced they'd be shuttering their doors indefinitely.

"You can't really run a liquor store out of a bar and have it be profitable, and that's about all you can do in the cold weather," said Konnor.

Since March, Genna's had been struggling to operate. Konnor and other loyal patrons have teamed up to raise money in an effort to get Genna's through the next few months.

"The pandemic has hit a lot of businesses hard, but I think none harder than small, family-owned businesses, who really rely on almost daily income to keep them rolling, to pay their employees, to pay their expenses," said Konnor.

Genna's is just one of many small businesses shutting down in Madison.

Tiffany Kenney, the executive director of Madison's Central Business Improvement District (BID), says State Street especially is suffering.

As of May 30th, she says there were 152 businesses on State Street.

"I've lost 30 of them, I'm going to keep as many of the rest of them as I can," said Kenney.

According to the BID, Madison has lost 30 businesses since then, which equates to 20 percent of downtown businesses.

Business owners say PPP funds, donations and the upcoming grant money are helpful but feel they'll likely need more support on a federal level.

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Jessica Viti

Intern, WKOW TV

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