dianas-flower-shop COVID-19 has changed everything for Limon and her business. After 36 years as a business owner, Limon may have to close her doors for good.
Image by Diana Limon

Even as she closed her store, Limon’s customers didn’t abandon her. She’s still delivering beautiful arrangements as COVID-19 continues to take lives.  

Diana Limon always wanted to be a florist. It was a skill she learned from her mother. And like her parents, she too would come to open up her own business. Limon loves creating unforgettable moments for people, arranging flowers for birthdays and anniversaries, but recently, most of the arrangements she’s making are for funerals.

COVID-19 changed everything for her. After 36 years as a business owner, Limon closed the doors of Diana’s Flower Shop on March 20. She hasn’t done so officially but that looks to be the eventual result of the coronavirus shutdown.

As the primary caretaker for her aging parents, and the economic crisis in the wake of the pandemic, Limon thinks it’s time to call it a day. While her Austin, Texas store is closed, Limon has been able to serve some of her longtime customers, at least partially, at home. She might be doing a little business on the side, but not enough to reconsider the unfortunate inevitable.

“I didn’t want to go out this way,” Limon said in an interview with The Americano, “but my parents are more important to me than business.” 

Although her business has suffered greatly, she’s been able to pay her bills. To help the store stay afloat, she considered applying for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan aimed at small businesses. However, after realizing that paying the loan back would be too much of a gamble, she decided not to. She also said filling out the application was overwhelming and had heard of other small business owners who thought the program as complicated.

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Limon is not alone. Countless small businesses have shut down because of COVID-19, The Washington Post reports. One study indicates that more than 100,000 small businesses will close permanently. For Latinos, who’ve been severely impacted by COVID-19, their businesses are suffering drastically. A Stanford survey released in May showed that nearly two-thirds of Latinos said they would be out of business in six months if the trend continued

A more recent poll from Small Business Majority surveyed 500 small business owners and found that 9 in 10 small businesses were impacted by COVID-19, with 43% indicating a severe negative impact. Additionally, the poll found that 41% of small business owners experienced a revenue decrease of 50% or more, and 33% of small businesses closed permanently. 

RELATED: Latino and Black Business Owners Are Being Left Behind By the Government’s Small Business Bailout

For Limon, she has weathered the good times and the bad with her customers. It’s a strong bond she has strengthened over time. Even as she closed her store, Limon’s customers didn’t abandon her. She is still delivering beautiful arrangements as COVID-19 continues to take lives.  

“I had so many customers reach out to me,” Limon said. “Now, I am doing people’s last wishes, with flowers. It’s an honor for me.”