For Wisconsin Businesses, A Tough Year Gets Tougher

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The only thing individuals and businesses can count on in 2020 is that they should expect the unexpected.

A year that began with continued economic growth and high consumer confidence quickly gave way to an economic crash fueled by a global pandemic. An unemployment rate in the teens with no sign of letting up combined with coronavirus related restrictions has left businesses wading through red ink and wondering how they will make it through until better times arrive.

Just when it seemed like things could not get any worse, the peaceful demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, police violence and systemic racism were sometimes accompanied by property damage.

In Milwaukee’s north side alone, “three small grocery stores, multiple mobile-phone stores, a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a clothing shop” were looted or damaged this past two weeks, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Like most business owners in Madison, we are supportive of the protests and unequivocally agree Black Lives Matter.   Still, small businesses are bearing the brunt of the property damage.  As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, “almost every business on the street (State Street), from new ventures to those that have been around for decades, has been hit by graffiti, broken windows, or looting.”

Businesses with property damage should immediately examine their insurance policies. Most Wisconsin businesses carry insurance that covers, among other things, damage causes by riots, fires, and civil unrest. Like any situation involving an insurance claim, it’s crucial to document the damage and make a claim as soon as possible.

“We’re All In” small business grants are now available to small businesses in Wisconsin. Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act., grants can be used to assist with the costs of business interruption, employee wages, even mortgages. Applications must be submitted during the period of June 15-June 23.

Some businesses will have to explore options for debt relief, both in and out of courts.  Bankruptcy is an option but is not the only option for achieving debt relief.  For example, terms of debts can be renegotiated or Chapter 128 of the Wisconsin Statutes may be employed to allow a business to continue operating while undergoing an orderly winddown.

As you continue to navigate this period of turbulence you can turn to our firm’s experienced attorneys for guidance.  We work with your creditors and, if necessary, can assist you with filing a bankruptcy case, or we can serve as a Chapter 128 Receiver.  We understand the time and care you have put into your business and can help you explore all available options for getting you back on the path to profitability.

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