Home Instead & Merry Maids
“When I talk to [my Solano SBDC business advisor], we talk about the big picture. When I talk to her, it’s almost like talking to a friend who is very knowledgeable. I know that she is also working with other companies that deal with similar issues. It’s an incredible resource for us.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic caused companies in the home health industry to cut staff and resources, Jaime Penaherrera, owner of Vallejo’s Home Instead and Merry Maids, worked with the SBDC and saw his two businesses flourish.
Jaime Penaherrera’s Home Instead and Merry Maids operate as two separate businesses, but they complement one another and often work with the same clients. Home Instead provides non-medical services to clients who need temporary or permanent assistance with transportation, meal preparation, companionship, or surgery recovery, while Merry Maids offers residential and commercial cleaning.
When the local economy closed in March 2020, Merry Maids lost 80% of its clients and Home Instead lost 20% of its revenue. It was very important to everyone to be able to continue providing services to their clients in the safest and most effective way possible.
Penaherrera worked with his SBDC advisors to apply for and subsequently receive a PPP loan that helped save 20 jobs. He also received an EIDL loan that helped his businesses purchase PPE equipment. The two companies implemented strict health checks for their staff and assured their employees they would not lose their jobs if they were ill and not able to work.
He also applied for a Layoff Aversion Fund (LOAF) Grant through the Solano Workforce Development Board in April. They used the funds they were awarded to purchase 10 GrandPads, the first tablet designed exclusively for seniors so clients can communicate with their families.
Penaherrera did not have to lay off a single employee. None had their hours cut, nor was there a hiring freeze. He attributes their success during the crisis to dedicated staff as well as their partnerships within the community, including the Solano SBDC.