"First came the shock, the existential fear and the conversations. Then the sudden switch to keeping the business alive – that’s the best way to sum up the past few weeks."
Rent reductions have been a major topic in the media since lockdown started. Many landlords have either reduced rent or implemented rent-free periods alongside rent deferments on a case-by-case basis. Daniel Frei, owner of the clothes boutique stereo fashion in Zurich, contacted his landlord Helvetia shortly after his business was forced to close its doors. It wasn’t long before he received some positive news: his request to have his rent waived was accepted.
"This gesture of goodwill allowed me to pay for some of the stock I’d ordered for my store for February and March", says a relieved Daniel. According to Daniel’s initial estimate, the shop’s closure means that revenue is down by around 85% compared to the same time period last year. Daniel is now setting his sights on the future and is looking forward to welcoming customers to his boutique once more. More than anything, it is the personal encounters with his loyal customers that he has missed over the past few weeks.