Our brands – Anytime Fitness, Waxing the City, Basecamp Fitness and The Bar Method – thrive thanks to our thousands of independent, small-business franchise owners. Self Esteem Brands is proud to stand with other CEOs in support of the RESTART Act to deliver relief to small businesses in the wake of this pandemic.
August 3, 2020
The Hon. Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
The Hon. Chuck Schumer Senate Minority Leader
The Hon. Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader
The Hon. Kevin McCarthy House Minority Leader
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy,
As current and former CEOs of some of America’s largest companies, major trade associations, and successful small businesses, we know that small businesses are essential to our country’s economic and social health. They employ almost half of all private-sector workers and account for 44 percent of U.S. GDP.
Small businesses are too critical to our country’s economic strength to let fail. From retailers and restaurants to consulting firms and manufacturers, small business owners are facing a future of potential financial ruin that will make the nation’s current economic downturn last years longer than it must.
While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has provided short-term relief for many, that lifeline is coming to an end. Another round of PPP would certainly be helpful for many of these businesses, but the hardest-hit sectors will need much more significant and sustained support. Although our country is in the process of reopening, it is hardly a return to normal, and many businesses may be required to close again. Most small businesses don’t have enough cash in the bank to weather more months of reduced revenue and customer traffic. To survive until a vaccine is widely available, millions of small businesses will require longer-term support from the federal government.
At this moment of crisis, we urge you to transcend partisanship and forge meaningful agreement on an assistance package to help our struggling small businesses and, in turn, tens of millions of Americans. We believe that assistance should embrace the following principles:
Federally guaranteed loans, at favorable terms, that will enable small businesses to transform and sustain themselves through 2020 and well into 2021. Support must last for longer than just the next two or three months.
Businesses should have flexibility in how loan funds are used.
The hardest-hit businesses should be eligible for at least partial loan forgiveness. Any forgiveness should be limited to small and mid-sized firms that have suffered significant revenue declines and are not publicly traded.
Relief needs to be delivered expeditiously. Building on the existing PPP infrastructure would be one way to quickly stand up a new loan program.
These funds must flow to all small businesses in need, particularly those run by people of color, who have traditionally had less access to capital. A portion of funds should also be directed toward strengthening community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs).
Strong bipartisan support for Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Todd Young’s RESTART Act—which embodies all of these principles—demonstrates recognition of the need for this kind of sustained support. We believe something resembling the RESTART Act must be in this next package.
This is not a call for bottomless handouts. It is a defining moment to show how capitalism can benefit all Americans, particularly entrepreneurs who have been forced to shutter or reduce the capacity of their businesses through no fault of their own.
We cannot stress enough the urgent need to act. Every day that passes without a comprehensive recovery program makes recovery more difficult. By Labor Day, we foresee a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken soon. Tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs in this pandemic. Allowing small businesses to fail will turn temporary job losses into permanent ones. By year end, the domino effect of lost jobs—as well as the lost services and lost products that small businesses provide—could be catastrophic.
Republicans and Democrats already agree that small businesses are essential to the fabric of our communities and economy. It is time to put that belief to work. We urge Congress to support these principles in drafting the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.
CEO, El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc.
Mark S. Allen
CEO, International Foodservice Distributors Assn.
Austin Allison Former
Founder, the dtx company
Founder, South Florida Club Sport
CEO, Mastercard Inc.
CEO, True Food Kitchen
CEO, National Restaurant Association
CEO, Business Roundtable
Chairman and CEO, Columbia Sportswear Co.
CEO, Boston Ski + Sports Club
CEO, Penn Foster
Former CEO, Xerox Corp. and VEON Ltd.
Executive Director, Pop Warner Little Scholars
Chairman and CEO, Revolution
CEO, The Walt Disney Co.
CEO, FirstService Brands Inc.
Former Chairman and CEO, American Express
CEO, SoftBank Group International
Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel
CEO, Jani-King International Inc.
CEO, International Franchise Association
CEO, Bloomin’ Brands Inc.
CEO, Ulta Beauty Inc.
Thomas J. Donohue
CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
CEO, Red Ventures
CEO, Augusta Sportswear Brands
CEO, Play Sports Community
CEO, Spyce Food
Kenneth C. Frazier
Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.
CFO, Costco Wholesale Corp.
Owner and Co-Founder, KICKIT365 Inc.
Executive Director, Sport & Social Industry Assn.
Managing Director, Casco Bay Sports
Co-CEO, Ariel Investments
CEO, Great Clips, Inc.
CEO, Dunkin’ Brands
CEO, Mission Lane
Michael Howell CEO, Dolly
CEO, Home Instead Inc.
CEO, Starbucks Corp.
CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises
Michael Karnjanaprakorn Founder, Otis
CEO, Two Chairs
CEO, Triple Crown Sports
CEO, SAP SE
CEO, Active Policy Solutions
Chairman, Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Co-founder and Partner, Maveron
Chairman, SportClips Inc.
CEO, Playbook and NYC Sports
Doug McMillon CEO, Walmart Inc.
CEO, The IRONMAN Group
CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
Co-founder and Managing Partner, QED Investors
CEO, Microsoft Corp.
Kevin M. O’Malley
Chairman and CEO, Travel and Transport Inc.
CEO, Choice Hotels International Inc.
Co-owner, HUB Sports Boston
Chairman, Devoted Health Inc.
CEO, Devoted Health Inc.
CEO, Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group
Douglas L. Peterson
CEO, S&P Global
CEO, Alphabet Inc.
CEO, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List
Chairman, Barnes & Noble Inc.
Chairman and CEO, Cisco
CEO, Lovevery Inc.
Executive Chairman, IBM
CEO, Self Esteem Brands LLC
Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks Corp.
Danny Shader CEO, PayNearMe
CEO, Hearsay Systems
CEO, Century Furniture
Director, Orlando Sport and Social Club
Former CEO, Costco Wholesale Corp.
CEO, Accolade Inc.
Arne M. Sorenson
CEO, Marriott International Inc.
CEO, Pyro Spectaculars
Barry S. Sternlicht
Chairman and CEO, Starwood Capital Group
COO, L.E.A.D. Inc.
Michael Strickland Chair, Bandit Lites Inc.
Former CEO, McDonald’s Corp.
CEO, Austin Sports & Social Club
Stephen Vitale CEO, Pyrotecnico
Founder, KC Crew LLC
Jimmy Walicek CEO, CLUBWAKA
Executive Director, National Fitness Foundation
Sharon Waxman CEO, TheWrap
Meg Whitman CEO, Quibi
Elise Worthy CEO, Kids on 45th
CEO, Reigning Champs LLC
Joey Zwillinger Co-CEO, Allbirds