Businesses in Tampa Bay Step Up to Help Others Survive Coronavirus
Tricera Capital decided to forgo collecting rent for April from several businesses along Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida, including Bodega in the Edge District. (Jay Conner/Tampa Bay Times)
These are trying times, the kind that bring out the worst in us. But the turmoil also reveals a better side. Acts of humanity perpetrated without fanfare — selfless, sometimes anonymous, often inspiring.
A neighbor mows a nurse’s lawn, knowing she’s working another double shift at the hospital. A stranger scrounges up a couple of rolls of toilet paper for the elderly man with a sick wife at home.
Businesses get in on the act. The good ones offer extra leave to sick employees. They pay contractors, even though they can’t work. They give out bonuses to help pay for groceries.
Scott Sherman is a landlord. His company, Tricera Capital, owns about 10 buildings around Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, along with others in Tampa and South Florida. Rent payments are the lifeblood of his business. If tenants don’t pay, Tricera could struggle.
But Sherman knew the crisis was crushing his retail tenants, including the Latin eatery Bodega, Pacific Counter, Enigma Bar & Lounge, and Maple Street Biscuit Company. The state had closed bars and limited the number of patrons in restaurants. Now, they can only serve take-out. He felt he had to do something, so he decided not to collect rent for April.
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This story is part of a collaboration with the Tampa Bay Times through FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.