INDIANAPOLIS — A tent and awning company that’s been around for nearly 150 years in Indianapolis is going out of business.
American Tent and Awning owner Tom Simpson says the coronavirus pandemic is mostly to blame, not because of a lack of business, but because he doesn’t have enough workers in order to meet demand. He told WISH-TV he’s had to turn customers away because of his lack of manpower.
He said the company was doing great before the pandemic hit.
“The COVID just wiped everything out,” Simpson said. “We were looking at probably the best year we’d seen since 2017, and it all disappeared in the course of two weeks.”
Simpson had to furlough most of his workers. He was able to get some business during the height of the shutdowns with businesses having to facilitate outdoor dining areas.
With things opening back up, business picked up with it. But, Simpson said he had a hard time bringing workers back, let alone his previous staff.
“A lot of them have had to go on to other things,” he said. “The summertime help, they’re making more money on unemployment. They don’t want to come back to work. I talked with my family competitors and they’re having the same problem.”
With a lack of workers, he’s had to turn business away. So much so that he says he and his son decided to shut it down. Yellow tags line everything inside his business ready to be sold at auction.