"We are right there. We are at the edge," said Chano Zavala. He and his wife have owned Peninsula Party Rentals in Palo Alto for 15 years.
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After that many years, they find it difficult to be in survival mode. This weekend with the Small Business Saturday push will be crucial.
"There's only so long we can stay in business at a loss," Zavala said. "We've been at a loss since March, so if this keeps going, I don't know."
The Zavalas have had to take out a loan from Opportunity Fund after traditional lenders turned them down. The nonprofit microlender specializes in helping struggling small businesses. Some will survive while others may not.
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"We have to come to that realization that there will be, unfortunately, small businesses that will not, but we need to do as much as we can," said Adriana Eiriz, Opportunity Fund's vice president of sales and partnerships.
Small business owners rely on support from local customers. That's true for Viva O Sol, a women's boutique in Los Gatos.
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"When you own a small business, you never sleep at night," said owner Claudia Diniz. "You always worry about the future because you need every single sale that you can at the end of the day."
Claudia Diniz also has taken out loans from the SBA and Opportunity Fund to stock for winter. The cash generated now is what she'll need to buy next season's clothing and to pay her loans. Her customers don't have to dress for parties or for work since they're staying home. Still, the door is open, and she remains optimistic.
The Zavalas never anticipated they'd be in this situation. They don't even know what they will do if they do close. They just get up every day, go to work, and count on a turning point.
"What is going to happen tomorrow?" wondered Zavala. "It does put me in a very, very tough situation that, you know, it's sometimes, to be honest with you, we don't know what I'm going to do."
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