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Open or Closed: Atlanta businesses discuss reopening plans after Georgia governor’s executive order



(Photo: Courtesy of Slutty Vegan)

Around the state, a number of businesses owners around the state are preparing their plans to reopen their doors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has urged small business owners to keep the doors closed for a while longer and for residents to shelter in place until more testing is available. A number of Metro Atlanta business owners have shared with The Atlanta Voice their plans for reopening and the guidelines for which they are engaging with their clientele.

ATC Tax Income Open May 1
Owner: David Gherezgher
Address: 3551 Memorial Dr., Decatur
Phone: (404) 284-4444

“Yes, we are open Monday through Friday, 10 AM-4 PM.  We do walk-in or drop-offs with a safe policy of two customers at a time. Our customers can book their appointments online. We also do virtual taxes so that people can stay at home.”

Atlanta Style Bar Open May 10
Owner: Rhonda Wilkins
Address: 300 Peachtree Street, Suite CS2, Atlantta
Phone: 404-565-1714

“In keeping with federal and state regulations, Atlanta Style Bar will remain closed until the end of April. We plan to reopen on May 10, 2020. During this time, we have strategized on ways to maintain the highest level of cleanliness in our salon to ensure the safety of both our staff & clients.”

Preventative measures:

  • All staff is required to wear masks.
  • Patrons are required wear masks to their appointments, one that is secured behind the ears; If a patron doesn’t have one, the establishment will provide one.   
  • Establishment is splitting service providers into shifts, reducing the number of people in the building by a minimum of 50 percent. 
  • Service Providers will be working in every other station, leaving an empty station to keep a safe distance.
  • Patrons are asked to arrive for appointments at the appointed time and no earlier. Patrons are asked to limit any belongings to their phones and forms of payment. 
  • Please do not bring any extra guests with you and please do not bring children to your appointment at this time.
  • Patrons with an underlying health condition have been asked to wait to return to the salon until May 24 per state guidelines. In addition, if you have been ill or around someone who has been ill, please wait 14 days to reschedule your appointment.

(Photo: Courtesy of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks)

Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks Open for takeout
Owner: Derrick Hayes
Address: 57 Forsyth St NW Suite 63, Atlanta
Phone: (404) 343-0259

“We were never closed for business completely. We have been operating with takeout orders only that are available by phone orders, online ordering, or curbside takeout. We will not be reopening the dining hall to the public probably until the end of May or beginning of June even if the restrictions are lifted in Atlanta. We do not want to risk the health of our employees or others by allowing groups of people to gather in our establishment until it’s safe nationwide.”

Preventative measures: 

  • Only employees and approved vendors are allowed inside Big Dave’s establishment during COVID-19.• Owners check the employees temperatures each morning to ensure anyone is not over 100 degrees in temperature. 
  • We ensure we follow the hand-washing guidelines and our staff changes their gloves frequently. 
  • Customers must follow social distancing guidelines when waiting outside for their takeout order. 
  • Red tape has been posted outside the establishment that separates customers six feet apart and also denied access to the exit and entry points of the restaurant. 

Champion Dreams Open May 1, 10 a.m.-7p.m.
Owner: Travis Brown
Address: 1515 Wedmore Ct SE, Smyrna
Phone: 678-792-8980

“Our Covid 19 restrictions for our business doesn’t involve directly touching our clients as we provide production and design services for our clients. So furthermore we want to remain sanitary and continue to give our clients the best value for their business.”

(Photo: Courtesy of CRAVE)

CRAVE Open for all business including dine-in, takeout and delivery, 1 – 9 p.m.
Owner: Mychel “Snoop” Dillard
Address: 1126 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta
Phone: (678) 399-3077

Preventative Measures: 

    • Establishment has reduced capacity to make sure everyone is social distancing once inside.
    • Establishment has brought in infrared thermometers and the staff will have their temperatures taken upon clocking in for work. If it’s high, they will not be allowed to work. 
    • Every single staff member will be wearing gloves at all times. Being seen without them will result in termination. 
    • Anyone showing any signs of the COVID19 virus will be sent home and cannot  work until they test negative — with proof. 
    • The hostesses and front staff will sit patrons, where they can practice social distancing.
    • Establishment reserves the right to refuse service to anyone displaying signs of the COVID19 virus. 

(Photo: Courtesy of CRU Hemp Lounge)

CRU Hemp Lounge Opening May 15
Owner: Dennis McKinley
Address: 620 Glen Iris Dr NE #101, Atlanta
Phone: (404) 423-7175

Diamond Facez Skincare Bar Open for business
Owner: Shamari-Rene Cherry
Address: 175 W Wieuca Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (770) 313-8516

“Going forward, we will be taking one client at a time by appointment only. Wearing a mask & shield during the treatment is mandatory and same for our clients. We will be following all state/CDC rules. Each client must have their temperature taken upon arrival. A consent forum & questionnaire will also be given to each client before providing services.” 

Dine & Design Opening in June
Owner: Alannah Vincent
Address: 1039 Grant Street SE Suite B31 Atlanta

“Dine and Design will be open mid-June. We have decided to turn it into a full mobile service business. Dine and Design will be open Thursday – Sunday. Clients should call for availability. We are working on a first-come, first-served basis. Clients will be seated six feet apart and have the option to use masks at their discretion.”

Dollhouse Dance Factory 3 Dance Studio Reopening June 1
Owner: Dianna Williams
Address: 5370 Hwy 78 #25 Stone Mountain
Phone: (770) 265-1111

“We plan to reopen June 1, 2020. Hours will remain 2-9 pm. All students are required to sanitize upon entering, wash hands every hour and sanitize every other hour. Dancers will also be required to sanitize on their way out. Customers are only allowed in facility 1 at a time in the lobby. Classroom sizes are cut to 20 and 6 ft. apart lines will be placed outside the studio.”

(Photo: Courtesy of FLR-PLN)

FLR-PLN Closed until further notice
Owner: Adia Dightman & Rachel Jackson
Address: 2491 Martin Luther King Jr Drive SW, Atlanta GA 30311
Phone: (888) 353-1011

“We are looking to open mid-summer. We want to prevent the spread of the virus and allow guests to experience the store in the best way possible. We currently have two locations in Atlanta closed due to COVID-19. We opened our stores 3 months before we had to close due to the pandemic. We have moved our operations online until further notice.”

Gocha’s Breakfast Bar Open for takeout daily from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Owner: Gocha Hawkins
Address: 3695 Cascade Rd, Atlanta
Phone: 678-927-9166

“Food is an essential and people have to eat, and since this is the case we have to be safe about it. We are not expecting to open our doors to full capacity until late May or first of June. We are still here for our guests and we want them to know we are practicing all safety measures such as: washing our hands, wearing gloves, wearing protective face masks, sanitizing and disinfecting each and everything that we can while also only utilizing the front part of our dining room.” 

Preventative measures: 

      • Only using every other booth and practicing social distancing. We want them to be safe and comfortable just as our staff. 
      • Establishment is only allowing 10 guests in the restaurant at any given time. 
      • Still offering take out..Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates and in house ordering.  

Hattie Marie’s BBQ
Owners: Willie & Ramona Griggie
Address: 3699 Main St., College Park
Phone: (678) 796-8205

“For now, we will be sticking with takeout and delivery. We will make an assessment after May 15. At that point, we will decide whether or not they’re opening, but we are looking to hear back from the Mayor. For now, staff and customers are coming in ordering with masks and are spread six feet apart.”

The Hunt, LLC 
Owner: James Hunt
Address: 5 Pritchard Way NE, Atlanta
Phone: 404-998-2516 

(Photo: Courtesy of The Hunt, LLC)

“Business has never closed! Actually, because of the nature of this business—the credit repair business—and our expertise, business for me has been up about 50 percent since the coronavirus lock down as clients have taken the time to actually focus on their finances and what their issues are. With that said, there are changes that have been made. All staff communicates via phone and submits their information electronically, then we have their paperwork sent in. I have my employees working one in each office to account for the 6 feet social distancing rule. We are also making sure that there is hourly disinfecting of everything, desks, computers and all other appliances and supplies. We are being totally conscious and ordering food out and bringing it into the office so we don’t have to go to the restaurants.” 

The aftermath: This pandemic has definitely changed the way my company will do business in the future. I don’t foresee having clients in the office. It is not necessary. It has been proven that we can be equally effective without having face to face consultations with the clients and we are able to efficiently take care of their issues without seeing them in the office. 

Janelle Alisha Wig Design & Installation Reopened April 27; open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Owner: Janelle Alisha
Address: 409 Arrowhead Blvd, Jonesboro
Phone: 850-254-5028

I opened on Monday, April 27. My reason for opening is based on my background in Public Health and my faith, it allows me to implement the safety precautions, take heed and change my business guidelines and procedures. As a  small business owner, I need to continue to make money and my clients are also going back to work. They are needing wigs made for that, so I need to be available to them.”

Preventative measures: 

      • As patrons enter the establishment, they must take the hand sanitizer provided at the door. 
      • Patrons must wash their hands as soon as they enter. 
      • Staff will wear masks.

(Photo: Courtesy of Krab Queenz)

Krab Queenz ATL Open May Fridays through Tuesdays, noon – 8 p.m.
Owner: Tonique Clay, Natasha Burton, Kway Rogers 
Address: 529 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
Phone:(678) 515-3868

“The health and well being of our customers, staff and community are our top priority. With the data presented to us there is still a lot to be concerned about with COVID-19. We will continue to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations of social distancing and monitor the after effects of other business openings on May 1. We want our decision to reopen fully to not come with any consequences of patrons and staff getting sick or any risks of passing the viruses to others”. 

Miguel Wilson Collection Reopening June 1 by appointment only
Owner: Miguel Wilson
Address: 3500 Peachtree Rd NE f6, Atlanta
Phone: (404) 330-8626

“We’re planning the reopening of Miguel Wilson showrooms in Atlanta, Miami, and D.C. as of June 1. Next week, I will be laying out the protocols to help protect you and our team members. We can only accommodate one client at a time in the stores. 

(Photo: Courtesy of Mr. Everything)

Mr. Everything Cafe Open for takeout Mondays through Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Owner: Jason & Monica Smith
Address: 899 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta; 2220 Jonesboro Rd., Fairburn
Phone: (770) 996-3412

“We will not open our dining room at least not before June 1,2020. We feel it’s too soon for that and want to keep our employees and our customers safe. We have been open the entire time since the statewide shelter-in-place order. We have only take out and delivery through our Restaurant Partners. GrubHub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.” 

Preventative measures:

      • Establishment wipes counters and cash register areas down every hour.
      • Establishment has hand sanitizer available for the customers to use upon entering and exiting our establishment. 
      • Our front-of-the-house employees are required to wear face masks. 
      • Establishment has purchased a handheld POS System to even take customers’ orders outside when there are more than five customers inside our restaurant.

(Photo: Courtesy of Nouveau Bar & Grill)

Nouveau Bar & Grill Open for takeout and delivery, Tuesdays-Sundays 2–10 p.m.
Owner: Ebony Austin
Address: 3775 Main St, College Park
Phone: (404) 343-6785

“As a new restaurant, we were growing rapidly, this led to new hires in every area: bar, kitchen, servers, janitorial, marketing, etc. The word about Nouveau Bar & Grill had spread and we were bombarded with reservation requests, parties, and inquiries about renting out the entire restaurant. We are tentatively opening for business Memorial Day Weekend.”

(Photo: Courtesy of NuLeaf Health & Wellness)

NuLeaf Health & Wellness Store Reopening Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-8p.m. 
Owner: Jacquece Jennings
Address: 4750 Alabama Rd NE #116, Roswell
Phone: (404) 436-1611

As we continue to work to serve the evolving needs of our communities, we plan to stay in touch with news and changes as they occur. Here at Nuleaf #1 CBD store we have reopened and are ready to service you. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and support as we will all work together to help protect the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The Original Hot Dog Factory Closed until further notice; takeouts only
Owner: Dennis McKinley
Address: 68 North Marietta Pkwy NW, Marietta; 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta; 2860 Cumberland Mall, Atlanta
Phone: (404) 907-4133

“We actually haven’t closed during the pandemic. We shifted to takeout and delivery services only. Until we re-open for dine in we plan to continue to limit our capacity to 10 customers at a time. In a few weeks we plan to fully open and at that time we will follow all of the guidelines set forth by Governor Kemp.”

Re-opening plans: McKinley planned to open two of the three branches of his restaurant, The Original Hot Dog Factory, for dine-in service in the Atlanta area. He reversed himself Monday after getting about 40 calls from politicians, community leaders and customers urging him to keep diners out. “Ultimately, The Original Hot Dog Factory can’t make it without the community’s support, so I felt it was important to hold back and wait.”

Pearly Booth Closed indefinitely
Owner: Alannah Vincent

“Pearly Booth will reopen when ppl can socially gather in groups. Our hours will be the same as before covid-19. I believe Pearly Booth would function at its best without the Covid-19 restrictions. Once we are open to having parties and events then Pearly Booth will be in full swing.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Slutty Vegan)

Slutty Vegan ATL Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from noon to 7:30 p.m.
Owner: Pinky Cole
Address: 1542 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta
Phone: (678) 732-3525

Here at Slutty Vegan, we always take into consideration the safety of you (the customer), the needs of our staff, and the best interests of the community. The Slutty Vegan family wishes all those affected by this pandemic strength and resilience in this time of need.

Tu La 2 Nail Salon & Company Repening by appointment only Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Address: 1133 Huff Road Suite E Atlanta, Ga. 30318 
Phone: (404) 869-3600

“Tu La 2 Nail Salon & Company will analyze the upcoming weeks if all goes well we will consider resuming business in the beginning of May. We will follow the new guidelines presented. Our hours of operation will continue as normal. We are all about the SAFETY of our clients and our team! They matter the most!”

Preventative measures:

      • Establishment will observe a “No Mask, No Service” policy. 
      • Establishment’s staff is required to wear masks as well. 
      • Establishment will check clients and or teams temperatures daily. 
      • Patrons will have to sign a waiver to receive service. 
      • Establishment will continue its sanitation procedures, including requiring patrons to wash their hands before any service. 
      • Establishment is installing sneeze guards in place between technicians and patrons. 
      • Technicians are required to wear gloves for the patron’s entire service. 
      • Each technician and their client will be six feet from the other technician’s work stations. 
      • Establishment will limit occupation of salon to 10 people or less at all times. 
      • Only patrons being serviced can enter the salon.

(Photo: Courtesy of The Yizclusive Experience)

The Yizclusive Experience Men’s Grooming Spa Reopening today by appointment only
Owner: Yisrael Wright
Address: 1039 Grant St SE Suite A12, Atlanta
Phone: (888) 353-1011

“Our projected date per the Governor continuing to allow business to resume is Friday, May 1. We will only be open four days a week with no walk-ins and appointments only for existing clients. We deal with clients and patrons within the six foot recommendation for social distancing however with the masks, gloves, shields, and conscious cleaning, our close contact work will be tremendously safer. When we do resume services we will have additional steps and requirements to ensure safety.” 

Zeus’ Closet Reopening May 4 by appointment only
Owner: Ethan King
Address: 1339 Marietta Blvd Suite C, Atlanta; 440 Barrett Pkwy, Suite 46, Kennesaw
Phone: (866) 987-9387

“We plan to reopen next week by appointment only. Customers must book in advance on our website. Masks are required. We are closely monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, and will reopen when we feel we can do so safely for our team members and our clients.”

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?



When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances



Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit



Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.



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