Tampa Bay's National Historic Landmark District

Ybor City workers and small businesses asked what the biggest challenges are of COVID-19

TAMPA, Fla. (April 28, 2020) – COVID-19 has caused ominous impacts to the Ybor City economy, revealed in a survey conducted by the Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC). With most of the businesses in the hospitality industry and/or independently owned, immediate and widespread financial impacts have hit the Historic District.  

YCDC, which facilitates economic revitalization and business development in Ybor City, wanted to learn the challenges the community is experiencing during this pandemic and assess how to help the community. The economic development organization, thereby, launched a survey directed at two groups in Ybor City – small business owners and workers. Survey questions were geared toward financial and business operations perspectives. 

“We’ve taken these proactive steps to help address issues in the community by learning people’s specific situations,” said Courtney Orr, Ybor City CRA Manager/City of Tampa Economic and Urban Development. “Small business owners and workers are the livelihood of Ybor City, and when they are struggling, we need to know what we can do to help.” 

Out of the business owners surveyed, 97% of the businesses are independently owned and operated. For small business owners, the study found that: 

  • Roughly two-thirds are worried about their business surviving the pandemic.  
  • For 83%, rent or mortgage (without revenue) are the most burdensome expenses.  
  • 88% have lost revenue since the beginning of the outbreak.  
  • 64% have had to lay off and/or furlough employees.  

 Out of the workers surveyed, nearly half of them work in hospitality, one of the hardest-hit industries as a result of COVID-19. For workers in Ybor City, the study showed that: 

  • 74% percent were neither laid off nor furloughed. 
  • The top expenses that are the most burdensome were rent or mortgage (84%), food/groceries (66%), and utilities (31%). 
  • Monthly health insurance premiums (25%) and health care costs (19%) were other top burdensome expenses.  

The survey was active at the time that the One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together Fundwas announced, and the results validate that the program is covering the most burdensome expenses for workers and small businesses – rent and mortgage. Ybor City’s Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs) have committed $190,000 in additional funds to the One Tampa program, which is intended to help address the needs revealed in the survey and complement federal support programs.  

Ybor City’s research study was conducted by HCP Associates, a research, strategy, and marketing firm based in Tampa.   

About the Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC) 

Ybor City, only one of two nationally recognized landmark districts in Florida, has a unique background and diverse cultural heritage. The district is flourishing with culturally inspired architectural buildings and an eclectic mix of businesses and restaurants. Over the past 20 years, the district has undergone significant economic development and investment while also maintaining its historic charm. Ybor City Development Corporation works to stabilize the district by securing the future of its historic structures and community and is a catalyst in rehabilitating deteriorated properties with architectural merit, creating jobs, and improving the district’s overall livability. Their mission is to enhance Ybor City’s development, redevelopment and economic revitalization. For more information about YCDC, visit www.yborcityonline.com