Small businesses hope to financially make it through festival season without festivals

Local News

As more festivals are being canceled, it’s been difficult for some businesses to stay afloat

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As more festivals and fairs cancel summer events, small business owners are feeling the effects.

“Everything is canceled until July 4 right now, and I do two events on the Fourth of July and one of two of them are canceled. My events, some of them in July, have canceled, and some in August have canceled at this point,” said Tim Bortner, owner and CEO of Bortner Shows Midway LLC.

Tim Bortner said his business supplies rides and concessions for more than 30 events each year, but now they are suffering.

“These events, they can’t fundraise, they can’t get sponsors, they can’t get vendors right now because no one wants to sign up or spend any money. So, you can’t have the event if you have no fundraising, so they’re forced to cancel,” Bortner said.

Lisko Family Midway Amusement has been in business for more than 50 years. But, they are also suffering from the lack of events this year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t open until like, the fall, and that’s even, you know, looking optimistically,” said Tyler Lisko, of Lisko Family Midway Amusement.

Both Lisko and Bortner said safety is their number one priority and they also want their customers to be safe.

But with no events, it’s difficult for their businesses to stay afloat and their employees to have work.

Bortner said he plans to set up a food truck in Struthers just to make some extra money.

“We’re just kind of waiting around, just trying to figure out what we’re gonna do because we don’t know. It’s scary; it really is because this is how we make our money,” Bortner said.

Insurance is another issue. Even if festivals and fairs resume in the late summer, vendors must still pay for insurance that could cost tens of thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands, depending on the size of the company.

“Our insurance prices don’t change. If we open in August, the insurance still costs the same as if we opened in March,” Lisko said.

Along with other costs, this could be difficult to pay since the season was cut short.

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