ONE STORY AT A TIME, DURING THE PANDEMIC OF 2020.
In a time when the world is collectively experiencing the same thing, It’s hard to hear each individual story. The purpose of this project is to share the story of individual business owners in downtown Astoria during the shutdown caused by the pandemic. The lights may be off; we may have locked doors and closed signs; however, there are still ways to help us during this time. We can do this together.
Will and Jodi Kancharla
4709 Cedar Street in Astoria, OR 97103
K&M Opened in 2012 with one Prius and one Wheelchair van. They have added to the fleet over the years. Before COVID 19 they had 8 full-time employees. Eight Prius and three wheelchair vans.
K&M Medivan takes people to non-emergency medical appointments. They have several long-standing clients that they have been serving over the years. They take them to visits that include dialysis, chemo appointments, and doctors’ visits. They feel It is such an honor to get to work with incredible people. One such person has been with them since day one. He is such an inspiration to everyone who drives him. The order to shut down non-emergency medical visits stopped 90% of their Business. Resulting in not seeing regular clients. They miss interacting with them and growing relationships by spending so much time in a car together.
After the shutdown, they did apply for the paycheck protection program and have been able to bring back 3 employees. Although they are not doing the daily tasks they normally would be doing, they have been doing other things such as maintaining cars and helping out however they can.
The business has allowed them to support their family and full-time employment for 8 others. The way the business was run allowed Will to have more time with his family, gave him time to coach basketball for four years and to serve the community in many other ways. Without the business, they don’t think they would have been able to live a lifestyle that allowed so much time for service. They are grateful.
Overnight Will pivoted from being an owner-operator to a contractor. Will has been able to do the hard work and keep his family moving forward. The unknowing and uncertainty of what the future holds can be scary at times. What will it look like to take people to doctors’ appointments over the next few months? How long will people need to be cautious about being in close contact with one another? Will K&M be one of the many businesses that will not be able to stay afloat at this time? Will has great faith that even though they don’t know what the plan is going forward with certainty and clarity they know everything is for a season.
They shared if God would have them turn sails another direction, they are good with whatever direction their sails need to be pointed. They shared “God has always provided for the US thus far and we have no reason to doubt he will continue providing for us through whatever means.
They are so proud of the drivers that stuck it out to be with them through this even if things are not like they used to be. Seeing the faithfulness of people, and a community coming together to support each other has brought much joy. They have also enjoyed seeing that small businesses are not just the products they sell they are also about People.
When I met with Will and his wife Jodi the peace that surrounds these two is palatable. In the middle of a storm, they are keeping hope alive.