CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Small business owner Sunshine Swinson has been fighting to survive during COVID-19. The pandemic forced her to close the doors of her juice business, Fit Bar.
Fit Bar’s Portsmouth location shuttered over the summer, and the other location inside Military Circle Mall in Norfolk closed less than two weeks ago.
Swinson said the painful decision didn’t have to happen had Congress agreed on another relief bill for small businesses called a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
“That was really hard for me,” she said. “I’ve been in business since 2015.”
Swinson, however, is proving this year’s setbacks will not define her, only reinvent her. She and her son Syncere Swinson, 19, are now business partners.
“At first I thought it was kind of weird,” said Syncere Swinson. “I really didn’t think I’d be able to own a business, but now I own one and I’m really excited that I have my own business.”
Playing off the 19-year-old’s name, the duo opened SynFul Wingz inside Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake one week ago.
Business is doing well.
“As soon as we opened, we didn’t even get to cut the ribbon; that’s how packed it was,” said Syncere Swinson. “When I saw the line, it boosted my energy.”
The restaurant offers an uncommon pairing of milkshakes and flavorful wings.
“You can get a Sugar Momma, or Lemon Drop, or Riding Dirty, or Gold Rush,” said Sunshine Swinson. “Those names excite you, so I think the combination of great food with creative marketing names, together it makes people excited about something especially during the pandemic when we need something to smile about.”
As a business owner, Sunshine Swinson is looking forward to showing her entrepreneur son the ropes and teaching him that persistence pays off.
“I hope during this process he’s learned that in business, things are going to be tough, but you have to consistently reinvent yourself,” she said. “You can’t sit back and wait.”
Sunshine Swinson is not giving up on her juice bar business entirely. Fit Bar is taking orders online, and she has future plans of re-opening at a new location right in the Greenbrier Mall next door to SynFul Wingz.