Biden discusses small business struggles amid pandemic with owner of Half Moon Empanadas

MIAMI (WSVN) - President-elect Joe Biden personally reached out to a Miami business owner who, despite being hit hard by the pandemic, helped others.

As dozens of small businesses struggle to operate amid the pandemic, Biden said he wants to help them and even took the time to speak to Half Moon Empanadas owner Pilar Guzman Zavala.

“Pilar, can you hear me?” Biden said in a Zoom meeting he had with Zavala.

“Hi, yes. How are you?” she said.

“Tell me about your business. What’s going on? How are you doing?” Biden asked.

The interaction was posted on Biden’s Twitter account Friday morning.

“I’m honored that they chose me to bring a light to the story of small businesses in the U.S., and that it’s a Miami company, and that it’s a woman-owned company, and it’s a Latina-owned company,” Zavala said. “It was honestly surreal.”

Zavala was born in Mexico, moved to the U.S. at an early age and has since been living the American Dream.

She later opened her own restaurants with several locations across South Florida.

“In regular times, we have 12 to 14 locations,” Zavala said.

Business came to a halt when the pandemic struck.

“One day, March 13, all of our stores started to close,” she said. “It took two months for us to hear and get approved for the PPP [Paycheck Protection Program]. We did two things to survive 2020. One, we focused on our sales here in the ventanita and doing online sales. We became a restaurant of empanadas making meals for seniors.”

Biden said he plans to expand access to PPP loans for small businesses across the country.

According to the President-elect’s website, he wants to “ensure deserving small businesses get all the help they need for as long as they need.”

“We’re going to push really hard because the single biggest driver of employment is mom and pop small business,” Biden said. “They employ more people in America than the corporations do.”

“You know, I’m glad that you’re looking at how you can support, especially small businesses, the businesses that are 10 people, the businesses that are small that are not getting the PPP,” said Zavala.

For more information on Biden’s plan to assist small businesses, click here.

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