Despite construction’s return, SF’s home improvement industry languishes

As San Francisco hits the three-month mark of sheltering in place, residents have found plenty of new ways to pass the time — including working on projects around the house.

That’s mostly been good news for local hardware stores, which have seen an uptick in sales related to household projects. But for other small businesses in the home improvement industry, the shift has come at a cost.

Two TMC Financing clients weigh in on how the pandemic has impacted their business. Okell’s Fireplace utilized TMC Financing and the SBA 504 Program to purchase a warehouse for the business a few years back. The owner of the business, Kevin McKee, returned to TMC for a PPP loan after getting denied from his bank. McKee considers himself lucky in that sense. Out of about two dozen small business owners in his immediate circle, he was the only one to get PPP funding. However, McKee states that business is only at about 40% of what is normal for them.

Upcycle Builders is another TMC financing client that is facing similar issues. Business for Upcycle has remained slow since construction projects were allowed to return and many projects have been put on hold or canceled altogether.