By Monica Busch on May 8, 2020


As spring and summer lure runners out onto trails and sidewalks, stores like Worcester’s Sneakerama typically plan for their peak season.

Before COVID-19, 2020 seemed to be a year like any other. Sneakerama owners Steve and Lisa Genatossio stocked up on inventory, preparing their Lake Avenue shop for the busy months ahead. But then, the coronavirus pandemic hit, halting the economy and forcing non-essential businesses to shut their doors just as spring officially started. Instead of fitting their customers with new athletic footwear, the Genatossios laid off virtually all of their staff.

With April sales sinking to less than a third of where they were a year prior, Lisa said she scrambled to apply for the $349-billion U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program as soon as it was made available on April 3, turning first to Bank of America, where she said she had done business for more than two decades. But that process didn’t go very smoothly. System errors and an overloaded customer service arm stood in her way, she said.


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