Property Manager Tells Restaurant Owners Not To Worry About Rent: 'Pay Your Employees'

There is a lot of darkness coming out of the coronavirus outbreak — the death toll is rising, people are raiding toilet paper aisles and restaurants are either serving takeout exclusively or shutting down.
However, stories of people bringing light to their communities in spite of these challenging times continue to bring us hope that we will rise above this together.
One Arkansas property manager has done what he can to ensure that restaurants are taking care of what really matters right now.
Young Investment Co. in Jonesboro announced Tuesday that its restaurant tenants wouldn’t have to worry about paying their rent for April. Instead, the property manager said, they should use their rent money to provide for their staffs.
“In an effort to do our part, Young Investment Company will not expect it’s Restaraunt tenants to pay April rent,” the company said in a Facebook post.
“We ask that you use this money instead to pay your employees and take care of your family. Stay strong. We will get through this together!”
“It just seemed like it was the right thing to do,” Joe Clay Young, the company’s president and CEO, told Arkansas Business on Wednesday.
To Young, the decision was a necessity, not a choice. He tore up the March rent check of one tenet who asked for help and decided to carry on the idea for the following month.
The co-owner and chef at one restaurant among Young Investment’s properties emphasized the effects of the coronavirus on his business and his gratitude toward Young.
“This past weekend, we saw a 60 percent cut in attendance in what we were bringing in revenue-wise,” John Myers of the Parsonage said, according to KAIT-TV.
“Mr. Young doing that for us this month … that money goes straight to the employees.”
Young told Arkansas Business that his tenants are “incredible” and said he would rather do what he can to help the businesses stay open so that he doesn’t have to find new tenants. He believes that not charging rent will be a good business move in the long run.
However, Young acknowledged that not all landlords can do what he did since they need to pay their bills as well. He offered his two cents for other landlords trying to make hard business decisions in light of the challenges imposed by the coronavirus.
“I think it’s a no-brainer in the sense of they have to look at the big picture and the long term. … If they’ve got great tenants, then they should protect them and work with them through whatever crisis or whatever is going on,” Young said.
“But certainly we’ve got great tenants, and we want to protect them. And we want them to stay with us for a long time.”
Young’s generosity did not go unnoticed. Though he said he did not expect any publicity for doing what he did, his actions were highly praised by hundreds of people.
“What an amazing business! Thank you for helping your fellow Americans during this crisis. We truly see the American spirit come out during times like this and we appreciate businesses like yours who are doing what you can to help others!” one person commented on Facebook. “May God bless and protect you, your family and business.”
“You just added on to my otherwise fading hope on humanity,” another Facebook user commented. “God bless you. Hugs from Nepal.”
The president himself heard about Young’s act of kindness and commended him for it.
He is already being rewarded for his generosity, as some of his more profitable tenets have offered to pay their April rent checks early in order to help him out.
Young is not the only landlord to wave rent for their struggling tenants. A property manager in Maine declared Wednesday that he also will not be collecting rent from his tenets in April since he has the “privilege” and “good fortune” to afford to do so.
“I ask any other landlords out there to take a serious look at your own situation and consider giving your tenants some rent relief as well,” he said.
Many people are in serious need as COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation. Twelve states have issued stay-at-home orders, according to CNN, as over 41,700 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States and 573 people have died as of Monday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins.

In spite of the frightening numbers, it is comforting to see how people and business owners are going above and beyond to help each other out in these challenging times.
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