The Experience of Beep Business in USVI
“We are custom brokers and clearing agents. A large percentage of USVI imports come through us, and the majority of the big box stores and grocers here are our clients”, says Daniel Yannone, as he explains what Beep Business has been doing for USVI since 1995.
Based in St. Thomas, the company has 16 employees. “A lot of them have been with me for over 10 years, so I don’t want to let them go”, he adds. It’s not only a matter of the tight relationships developed over the years; there is accumulated expertise and know-how that brings value and trust to their operation.
The challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic is that “imports are down 30% around the world, closer to 40% in USVI”, Yannone highlights. Nevertheless, he insists: “We are not telling anyone to go. We are paying for 40-hour weeks, and we are keeping flexible schedules, even if there is not too much to do so that they can get a paycheck. We are trying to keep busy”.
Hope Comes with the PPP
Applying and being approved for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program was a great relief for Yannone and Beep Business.
“Oriental made a big difference. I have business relationships with two other banks, and Oriental provided a positive experience. Applying was very easy, and we got approval fast”, he recalls.
The Program will allow for continued payments to Beep’s employees while the import process stabilizes. “I think we will be O.K. In the end. I think this situation can generate new opportunities for us”, says Yannone with a sense of hope in his voice.