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.


Bernard Acoca
CEO, El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc.

Mark S. Allen
CEO, International Foodservice Distributors Assn.

Austin Allison Former
CEO, Dotloop

Tim Armstrong
Founder, the dtx company

Steve Arsenault
Founder, South Florida Club Sport

Ajay Banga
CEO, Mastercard Inc.

Christine Barone
CEO, True Food Kitchen

Tom Bené
CEO, National Restaurant Association

Marc Benioff
CEO, Salesforce

Joshua Bolten
CEO, Business Roundtable

Timothy Boyle
Chairman and CEO, Columbia Sportswear Co.

Sharon Brigham
CEO, Boston Ski + Sports Club

Frank Britt
CEO, Penn Foster

Tim Brown
Co-CEO, Allbirds

Ursula Burns
Former CEO, Xerox Corp. and VEON Ltd.

Jon Butler
Executive Director, Pop Warner Little Scholars

Steve Case
Chairman and CEO, Revolution

Bob Chapek
CEO, The Walt Disney Co.

Charlie Chase
CEO, FirstService Brands Inc.

Ken Chenault
Former Chairman and CEO, American Express

Jared Cheshier
CTO, Pluto

Marcelo Claure
CEO, SoftBank Group International

Ron Conway
Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel

Jerry Crawford
CEO, Jani-King International Inc.

Robert Cresanti
CEO, International Franchise Association

David Deno
CEO, Bloomin’ Brands Inc.

Mary Dillon
CEO, Ulta Beauty Inc.

Thomas J. Donohue
CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ric Elias
CEO, Red Ventures

Dave Elliott
CEO, Augusta Sportswear Brands

Jessica Farawell
CEO, Play Sports Community

Michael Farid
CEO, Spyce Food

Kenneth C. Frazier
Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.

Richard Galanti
CFO, Costco Wholesale Corp.

Christine Gayoso
Owner and Co-Founder, KICKIT365 Inc.

Krissy Greenleaf
Executive Director, Sport & Social Industry Assn.

Patrick Hackleman
Managing Director, Casco Bay Sports

Trevor Hall
Owner, JaxSport

Robert Herzog
CEO, ZogSports

Mellody Hobson
Co-CEO, Ariel Investments

Steve Hockett
CEO, Great Clips, Inc.

David Hoffmann
CEO, Dunkin’ Brands

Shane Holdaway
CEO, Mission Lane

Michael Howell CEO, Dolly

Jeff Huber
CEO, Home Instead Inc.

Kevin Johnson
CEO, Starbucks Corp.

Earvin Johnson
CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises

Michael Karnjanaprakorn Founder, Otis

Alex Katz
CEO, Two Chairs

Robert Keane
CEO, Vistaprint

Keri King
CEO, Triple Crown Sports

Christian Klein

Terri Lakowski
CEO, Active Policy Solutions

Ted Leonsis
Chairman, Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Dan Levitan
Co-founder and Partner, Maveron

Gordon Logan
Chairman, SportClips Inc.

Josh Marcus
CEO, Playbook and NYC Sports

Doug McMillon CEO, Walmart Inc.

Andrew Messick

Danny Meyer
CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group

Nigel Morris
Co-founder and Managing Partner, QED Investors

Satya Nadella
CEO, Microsoft Corp.

Kevin M. O’Malley
Chairman and CEO, Travel and Transport Inc.

Patrick Pacious
CEO, Choice Hotels International Inc.

Erin Papworth
CEO, Nav.it

Chris Parente
Co-owner, HUB Sports Boston

Todd Park
Chairman, Devoted Health Inc.

Ed Park
CEO, Devoted Health Inc.

Stephen Pelkey
CEO, Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group

Douglas L. Peterson
CEO, S&P Global

Sundar Pichai
CEO, Alphabet Inc.

Darryl Rawlings
CEO, Trupanion

Brandon Ridenour
CEO, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List

Len Riggio
Chairman, Barnes & Noble Inc.

Chuck Robbins
Chairman and CEO, Cisco

Jessica Rolph
CEO, Lovevery Inc.

Ginni Rometty
Executive Chairman, IBM

Chuck Runyon
CEO, Self Esteem Brands LLC

Sheryl Sandberg
COO, Facebook

Howard Schultz
Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks Corp.

Danny Shader CEO, PayNearMe

Clara Shih
CEO, Hearsay Systems

Alex Shuford
CEO, Century Furniture

Ezra Simmons
Director, Orlando Sport and Social Club

Jim Sinegal
Former CEO, Costco Wholesale Corp.

Rajeev Singh
CEO, Accolade Inc.

Arne M. Sorenson
CEO, Marriott International Inc.

James Souza
CEO, Pyro Spectaculars

Barry S. Sternlicht
Chairman and CEO, Starwood Capital Group

Kelli Stewart
COO, L.E.A.D. Inc.

Michael Strickland Chair, Bandit Lites Inc.

Don Thompson
Former CEO, McDonald’s Corp.

Marc Tucci
CEO, Austin Sports & Social Club

Stephen Vitale CEO, Pyrotecnico

Luke Wade
Founder, KC Crew LLC

Jimmy Walicek CEO, CLUBWAKA

Clay Walker
Executive Director, National Fitness Foundation

Sharon Waxman CEO, TheWrap

Meg Whitman CEO, Quibi

Elise Worthy CEO, Kids on 45th

Luke Zaientz
CEO, Reigning Champs LLC

Joey Zwillinger Co-CEO, Allbirds